Associated Journals Ltd faulted rules – committee reportTop Stories

February 10, 2016 11:13
Associated Journals Ltd faulted rules – committee report},{Associated Journals Ltd faulted rules – committee report

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The inquiry report submitted to Maharashtra government pointed out violations at various levels, including repeated extensions granted to the company despite the latter not building anything on the land. Some violations in FSI were also pointed out, said sources. Additional chief secretary Gautam Chatterjee probing the alleged irregularities regarding the land allotment has submitted the report to principal secretary revenue Manu Kumar Srivastava on Monday.

Congress, which owns AJL and the now-defunct National Herald newspaper, is constructing a commercial building on a plot of 3,479 sq metre in suburban Bandra, off the western Express Highway, instead of building a research centre dedicated to Jawaharlal Nehru for which it had been allotted the plot.

The report pointed out that the rules allowed the state government to take back such land if the allottee did not begin to use it for the purpose allotted. Various Congress-led governments not only permitted AJL with the time extensions, but also allowed in the change in usage norms as a special case.

The report has pointed out that AJL, associated with the Nehru Gandhi family, required 20,000 sq feet for building a Nehru memorial and library and setting up a printing press, is currently constructing more than 83,000 sq feet. Most of this was commercial even though the lease permitted only15 percent of commercial construction to subsidise the rest.

"Over 75% of the 3,479 sq m plot is being commercially exploited, as per the the report. Using additional FSI through TDR and fungible FSI, an 83,000 sq ft building is being constructed," said sources.

“Our party stance is clear that this land must be forfeited and taken back from the company. This kind of land allotment typifies the kind of largesse past Congress-NCP governments doled out at the cost of public interest. We are fine if it opens a Pandora’s box; all those who benefited are from the Opposition,” said BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari.

Gautam Chatterjee, who was tasked with the probe into the irregularities in the allotment of prime plot in Bandra to Associated Journals Ltd, in December 2015 by the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, has submitted a 20-page report to the revenue department late on Monday night. The report has found that commercial construction is far in excess of the norms that had been allowed.

By Premji

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