Flats at the prime one-acre plus plot in Kandivli that the state government sold to the Kalpataru group for just Rs 1,079 per sq ft at the height of the realty boom in June 2007, are being sold at Rs 12,000 a sq ft today.
Last week, it was reported that an internal inquiry had raised questions about the Kandivli land, leased by the army from the state government and occupied by the Central Ordnance Depot since 1942.
In 2007, the government sold the land to Neo-Pharma Ltd, a part of the Kalpataru Builders group for Rs 6 crore (which works out to roughly 1,079 per sq ft). In 2008, the army was forced to vacate the plot due to pressure from certain army officers. The defence ministry is probing how the plot leased to the army was sold to a private company.
Regarding the sale of the land, real estate experts said it was impossible to secure the plot at such a low price anywhere in the suburbs. Significantly, flats in the project on the plot were being sold at prices ranging from Rs 6,000 per sq ft in 2007 to Rs 12,000 per sq ft in 2011. “This open plot at an auction would have fetched Rs 15 crore to Rs 18 crore in 2007,” said a leading real estate consultant who wished not to be quoted, as the issue is controversial.
However, the Kalpataru group said it had paid the amount according to ready reckoner rates prevalent in the area at the time. “We had been pursuing the issue since 1999 and all procedures like inviting objections and suggestions from relevant parties were followed,” said a company spokesperson.
The controversial plot is now part of a housing project that has come up on an adjoining plot. Kalpataru has used this plot as an access way to its adjoining plot and has also constructed a two-level car park for residents of the colony. Earlier this year, the car parks were being offered for Rs 5 lakh to each flat buyer.
Housing activists have accused the state of favouring the builders’ lobby. “They could have given the land to Mhada to construct low-cost houses,” said Santosh Daundkar, convener, Ghar Banao, Ghar Bachao Andolan, who has played a major role in unearthing the Adarsh housing scam.