The Bombay High Court issued notices to Union minister for heavy industries Vilasrao Deshmukh and his son Amit, on Thursday, following a public interest litigation alleging that a trust headed by the former Maharashtra chief minister had constructed a commercial complex on a plot in Latur, which was reserved for a school for deaf and dumb.
The court also directed the state government to submit the original file pertaining to allotment of the plot admeasuring 5,130 square feet, owned by Latur Municipal Council, to Jeevan Vikas Pratishthan.
The division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice SJ Kathawala has given the father-son duo time till January 6 to respond to the PIL filed by Latur resident Vishal Subhashrao Yadav, seeking investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
According to Yadav, the plot was reserved for a special school for deaf and dumb children. In October 1981, the trust headed by Vilasrao Deshmukh, then merely a Congress MLA, had sought the plot for constructing the school.
A year later, Latur Municipal Council passed a resolution leasing out the plot to the trust, and accordingly a lease deed was executed between the trust and the council on January 23, 1994.
Eleven years later, when Deshmukh became chief minister, the trust submitted plans for construction of commercial tenements on the plot, stating it was not suitable for the special school. When the council refused to accord sanction for commercial construction on July 18, 2006, the Town Planning Department issued a government resolution from Mantralaya approving commercial construction on the plot.
“The land was allotted for constructing a school for deaf and dumb children,” counsel for the petitioner, Mahesh Jethmalani, submitted. “Now, they are completely given a go by and everything is commercial.”
Jethmalani pointed out that the second floor of the complex was occupied by Vikas Co-operative Bank, which is headed by Amit Deshmukh. The next hearing is on January 6, 2011.