The Opposition parties in Maharashtra on Monday criticised the state government for reducing from Rs1,996.22 crore to Rs86.75 crore the penalty imposed on the Hiranandani group for land use violations at Powai.
Reacting to the Hindustan Times’ report on how 230 acres meant for affordable housing had been used to build Hiranandani Gardens, a complex of luxury apartments, and how the fine imposed for the violations had been drastically reduced, the Shiv Sena-BJP combine said it would raise this issue in the Assembly on Thursday.
“The manner in which the fine was reduced is doubtful. I will be raising this issue on Thursday in the Assembly and will ask the government to respond on how this was done,” the Leader of the Opposition Eknath Khadse said.
Khadse had in December 2010 raised the issue and had even visited Hiranandani Gardens at Powai and demanded a CBI inquiry into the matter.
A fine of Rs 1,993.22 crore had been imposed on the Hiranandanis after an inquiry by the then Commissioner of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority Ratnakar Gaikwad. This was subsequently brought down to Rs 86.75 crore after a review by the state’s Urban Development Department, which found fault with the calculations behind the original fine amount. Gaikwad is now the state’s chief secretary and head of the bureaucracy.
The case is under arbitration as Hiranandani has challenged the imposition of even the reduced fine. The Shiv Sena termed the state’s action questionable. “The Sena has been attacking the government on the issue of corruption. This incident looks like a big scam. We will question the government on how this was done,” senior Shiv Sena leader Subhash Desai said.