Days after the state government ordered a probe into land deals in Navi Mumbai involving CIDCO, the town planning authority, another case of changes to the land use rules to benefit a private builder has come to light.
The land in question is a 5,700 sq m plot that CIDCO (City Industrial and Development Corporation) auctioned last year as a commercial plot in the prime residential area of Kharghar.
Less than a year later, in June 2010, the builder got it reclassified as a residential plot. The developer paid CIDCO Rs 28.50 lakh as the fee for changing the land use classification. Realty experts say CIDCO lost at least Rs 19 crore in the bargain.
The Kharghar one is one of the land deals that CIDCO made between October 2009 and March 2010. The state government has now appointed T.C. Benjamin, principal secretary (urban development department) to probe these agreements and transactions worth more than Rs 2,500 crore.
Residential plots fetch more money in auctions than commercial ones in Navi Mumbai.
During the 2009 auction, the Kamdhenu Group outbid a dozen others by quoting Rs 42,000 a sq m and bagged the plot for Rs 24 crore. With the change in land use granted, Kamdhenu will now be able to construct at least 2 lakh sq ft of residential property on this plot, which would fetch about Rs 100 crore from flat buyers, according to real estate sources. The going rate in Kharghar is Rs 5,000 to Rs 5,500 a sq ft.
“Conversion of plot is a very difficult process and needs solid political support,” said a bidder who did not wish to be named. He said the plot would have fetched at least Rs 75,000 a sq m, which works out to Rs 43 crore, instead of the winning bid of Rs 42,000 a sq m that adds up to Rs 24 crore.
Surinder Sablok, owner of Kamdhenu Builders, defended the move saying there was nothing illegal in the deal. “We have followed all the regulations and the conversion has been done according to the CIDCO rules,” he said.