State politicians who decided to build flats for MLAs and MPs on prime real estate in Worli, for which they formed Sukhada and Shubhada housing societies, pushed for more and more land from the state government, which in turn obliged.
Documents with HT show that the promoters of the two societies demanded more land at least twice even after the state government had granted the societies 12,000 square metres of prime realty.
The government offered the societies 3,000 square metres of land to avail additional floor space index (FSI) so that the buildings could rise higher and have more flats. Politicians, however, rejected this offer, demanding nearly 5,000 square metres of land.
Eventually, the government de-reserved an adjoining 4,893 square metre plot for a public garden for the societies.
The proposal for the societies was mooted in 1996 when the saffron combine was in power, but its clearances were given during the Congress-NCP regime. A majority of the clearances were granted during the tenures of two former chief ministers, late Vilasrao Deshmukh and Sushilkumar Shinde. At the time, former CM Ashok Chavan was revenue minister.
Many senior state politicians, including deputy CM Ajit Pawar, BJP leader Gopinath Munde, Ashok Chavan and Congress state party chief Manickrao Thakre, have flats in these societies.
“Sukhada society is finding it difficult to accommodate 17 new members. Therefore, you are requested to allot additional de-reserved area measuring 772 sq m so that the total area [in terms of FSI] will not be less than 1964.89 sq m,” Madhavrao Gaikwad, then chairman of Sukhada, had said in a letter to the revenue ministry in 2002. In the same letter, Shubhada society too had demanded more land.
In a report submitted in 2003, the Collector confirmed that the societies’ demands could be met.
Ranjit Deshmukh, chairman of Shubhada, said: “We just asked the state to give us the FSI from the open space plot next to us so that we could build higher. There is nothing wrong with it as we were not physically encroaching on more area.”