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CAG indicts 10 politician-run edu trusts

Yet to be tabled in the legislative assembly, the CAG report is said to have pointed out that land was allotted to the trusts at concessional rates.

mumbai Updated: Apr 05, 2012 01:56 IST

The plots of land allotted over the past few years to education institutes run by politicians have come under the scanner of the Comptroller and Auditor General.

The opposition slammed the state government on Wednesday with allegations of massive irregularities in land allotment, pointing out that the yet-to-be-tabled CAG report has indicted trusts run by several ministers and politicians for mismanagement.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Devendra Fadnavis first raised the issue in the state assembly, alleging that the state was stalling the CAG report and it should be tabled soon to facilitate debate in the House.

Later, Shiv Sena legislator Ramdas Kadam spoke about it in the legislative council, and named senior state ministers Chhagan Bhujbal, Narayan Rane, Patangrao Kadam, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, and Union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, as politicians whose trusts had been incriminated in the report.

“Mumbai Education Trust related to Bhujbal got land at concessional rate in Nasik for setting up an engineering college. This land was allotted after its mining reservation was changed,’’ Kadam said in the council.

The application for the land allotment was made by NCP MP Sameer Bhujbal. The report says: “It is pertinent to mention here that the allottee was the nephew of the then state minister of PWD from whose charge the land was transferred. Thus, there was an apparent conflict of interest in this transfer.’’

Sameer Bhujbal told HT: “We got the land by following all government procedures and laws. There is no wrongdoing in this allotment at our end, or that of the government. We sought the land for educational purposes, and not commercial, and at least saved it from being encroached.’’

Kadam read out irregularities while allotting lands in 1991 and 2004 at concessional rates to Sindhudurg Prasarak Mandal to set up a community centre. However, a four-storey building named Sindhudurg Bhavan came up on the plot. Kadam said that its banquet hall is being rented out for Rs2 lakh a day, and it offers catering services.

Rane said: “This is much ado about nothing. It is just an audit observation, and has not even been tabled before the House. Such concessions have been given to all educational institutes.”

The trust controlled by Deshmukh has been indicted for getting prime land in Borivili at concessional rate for setting up a dental college. Kadam said, “The trust was favoured out of four other applicants. After six years, there is still no construction on this plot and it should have been taken back by the government.’’

It is learnt that the report has pointed out that land allotted to Vikhe-Patil was given at concessional rate of Rs17.35 lakh instead of Rs91.35 lakh. Vikhe-Patil said: “This seems to pertain to an old allotment dating to 1983-84.”

Sources in the government said that the report would be tabled in the House by next week.

First Published: Apr 05, 2012 01:55 IST