Following an order of the special anti-corruption court on Monday, the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Thursday registered an FIR to investigate allegations against developer Niranjan Hiranandani and TC Benjamin, additional chief secretary, urban development department (UDD) in a land scam, pegged at over Rs. 45,000 crore according to current market estimates.
The scam pertains to the violation of conditions of allotment of 344 acres of land in Powai, on which one of Mumbai's posh residential housing complexes has been developed by the former.
Sanjiv Dayal, director general, ACB, told HT: "The FIR (first information report) has been registered as per provisions under Section 156(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) on the direction of the honourable court which found prima facie material in the complaint that needs to be investigated."
In May this year, RTI activist Santosh Daundkar had alleged that Hiranandani, in collusion with Benjamin (and others) had cheated the government by using the government's land for his own benefit.
As per Daundkar's complaint, in 1977, the state had announced the Powai Housing Develop-ment Scheme for economically weaker sections (EWS), to be implemented over 140 hectares (344 acres) in the villages of Powai, Kopri and Tirandaz. In 1986, the state entered into an agreement with Hiranandani, and handed over 230 acres on an 80-year lease at a rate of 40 paise per acre.
Daundkar alleged that an inquiry held in 2009 revealed that the builder had violated many conditions of the agreement and built a posh residential complex which was sold at a premium.
Daundkar had moved the court against Hiranandani and others seeking registration of FIR against all.