State Minorities Minister Naseem Khan has said that the government will soon reclaim all waqf property that has been encroached upon.
“We will be claiming all properties standing illegally on waqf land in Maharashtra,” Khan said in the Legislative Council on Monday.
Khan, however, did not answer Nationalist Congress Party legislator Ram Pandagale’s question regarding Reliance Industries’ Chairman Mukesh Ambani’s house, which has been built on 4,532 square meters of waqf property at Altamont Road.
Ambani had paid the charitable trust that owned the property Rs 21 crore and Rs 16 lakh to the waqf board for getting a no-objection to construct his 27-storey house on it.
The waqf board has 92,000 acres of land in Maharashtra of which 50 per cent has been encroached upon or sold illegally. Waqf is a permanent dedication made by a person professing Islam, of movable or immovable property, as a religious act. Schools, madrassas, mosques and housing for poor Muslims are waqf property.
“None of these properties given up as waqf is registered with the charity commissioner, which governs these properties. So there are irregularities when the board fails to recover leased land after the lease ends or if the property is sold illegally,” Khan said.
Legislator Pasha Patel asked if the government has a list of waqf properties in Maharashtra and how they plan to monitor them. “The database for these properties is at the central office at Hyderabad. How will you take action?” Patel asked. Khan said the department would soon collate the data and put it online.