Public works minister Chhagan Bhujbal’s Mumbai Educational Trust (MET), one of the largest private academic institutions in the city, has come under the scanner of the charity commissioner, who has ordered that two floors of its premises at Bandra Reclamation be inspected on Saturday.
The two floors to be inspected are allegedly used by the Bhujbal family for their family business and as living accommodation. The order calls for the property to be inspected by assistant charity commissioner Mangesh Deshpande, who is required to photograph and videograph the floors and submit his report by April 11.
The April 4 order, issued by joint charity commissioner Sharadkumar Patil in connection with an application filed by former MET trustee Sunil Karve, temporarily prohibits five members of the Nationalist Congress Party leader’s family from entering the eight and tenth floors of the building for any non-educational purpose.
Those forbidden include the minister himself, his son, legislator Pankaj Bhujbal, and nephew, MP Sameer Bhujbal, wife Meena and daughter-in-law Vishakha, who are all members of the MET.
Karve had approached the charity commissioner on February 1 and filed an application under section 41(d) of the Bombay Public Trust Act demanding that the Bhujbals be revoked from their role as trustees.
The MET’s premises are meant to be used exclusively for educational purposes. Karve’s application alleges that Ideen Furniture Pvt. Ltd., a family concern of the Bhujbals, uses the eighth floor as a showroom and that the family uses the tenth floor as residence “unlawfully without paying any compensation to the trust. It is meant to be used as a guest house for the institute’s visiting faculty”.
Karve had simultaneously also lodged a complaint with the commissioner of police, alleging that the family trustees are misappropriating the trust funds.
Bhujbal was not available for comment. His nephew Sameer, the NCP’s Nashik MP and MET office-bearer, said: “If the charity commissioner wants to inspect the premises, we have no problem.” He refused to make any further comments.