Former Maharashtra chief minister and Union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh has moved the supreme court to get the Bombay high court to withdraw strictures passed against him over his alleged role in allotment of a 20-acre government land in Goregaon to director Subhash Ghai’s film institute Whistling Woods.
On February 9, the high court asked Ghai to surrender 14.5 of the 20-acre land to the state government. It said that the rest of the 5.5-acre land, on which the institute has been constructed, could be retained till May 2014. The court stayed the order for six weeks so that an appeal can be made in the apex court.
The high court stated that the agreement signed between Ghai's company Mukta Arts and the Maharashtra Film, Stage and Cultural Development Corporation (MFSCDC) was “illegal, arbitrary and without authority of law”.
The court added that Deshmukh, as the then chief minister, misused his official position and illegally signed on the agreement papers, giving undue favour to Ghai's institute.
The judges also took note of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report that raised objections about handing over the land for merely Rs3 crore.
Deshmukh filed an application in the apex court on Thursday, his aides confirmed. It is also learnt that Ghai, too, has challenged the high court order in the supreme court. However, the details of this appeal were not available at the time of going to press.