The state government reduced the ready reckoner rates of two places in Thane municipal area in 2010, which caused the state exchequer a loss of around Rs63.57 crore, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report claims.
The yet-to-be-tabled report poses serious questions over the decision to reduce the ready reckoner rates in Kolshet and Kavesar in 2010 in comparison to the 2008 rates.
The decision was taken at the time Roma Builders of the Hiranandani Group had bought substantial land in these villages, the report claims. In August 2010, the government allotted 34 acres land in Kolshet and 48 acres in Kavesar to Roma Builders at the prevailing market rate for 2010 on occupancy basis.
According to the report, the rates were drastically reduced in 18 out of the 28 plots checked in Kolshet and all 17 plots in Kavesar. At one place in Kolshet, the rate was dropped to Rs3,200 from Rs7,050 in 2008, the report says.
When contacted, Niranjan Hiranandani of Hiranandani Group, said, “We have heard this many times before. We are ready to pay any genuine difference in the rates. We had approached the revenue department to clarify if there was anything wrong in our case.”
In its reply to the CAG, the inspector general of registration (IGR) office, which determines the value of land, said the reduction was based on representations received from Indian Merchants’ Chamber (IMC) and local representatives, who wanted reconsideration of the rates due to recession that had reduced cost of properties. The CAG, however, said this reply was “not acceptable”. “In the neighbouring four villages, Dhokali, Balkum, Boriwade, and Wadavali, the rates of open land as per ready reckoner had either remained the same or were increased in 2010 as compared to 2008.”
The CAG said the global slowdown had not hit India that grew at 8% and Maharashtra’s land rates were booming when the decision was taken.