Training its guns on Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, the Congress party today accused Fadnavis of blessing an alleged scam in which a 24 acre plot of land worth Rs 1767 crores was transferred to a private developer for pittance by duping poor displaced farmers of Koyna Irrigation Project.
Addressing a packed press conference, Congress heavyweights like Randeep Surjewala, former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and Mumbai congress president Sanjay Nirupam told journalists that Paradise Builders of Manish Bhatija wanted land in Navi Mumbai close to the upcoming international airport. “A modus operandi was adopted to identify gullible oustee farmers of Koyna dam for the purpose of getting CIDCO land allotted and simultaneously get this land transferred to private developer,” said Nirupam.
According to Nirupam, Collector of Raigad district, without any authority to allot CIDCO notified lands, allotted 24 acres to families of 8 project affected farmers of Koyna irrigation project. “Paradise Builders had already entered into an agreement with these farmers to sell the land at a rate of Rs 15 lakh per acre. CIDCO and Urban Development ministry (headed by CM Fadnavis) raised no objection to the allocation of notified land. This land had been reserved for Central Park, Phase II,” alleged Nirupam.
On May 14-15, the sale deed was executed by 8 oustee families in favour of Sanjay Bhalerao of Paradise Builders for Rs 15 lakh per acre. “The sale deed also records that there was prior agreement between oustees and Paradise Builders. While this land exchanged hands at the rate of Rs 371 per square meter, land in proximity has been sold by CIDCO at the rate of Rs 1.84 lakh per sq meter. Thus the land with an estimated value of Rs 1767 crores was sold for Rs 3.6 crores duping gullible farmers. Entire transaction could not have taken place without collusion of CIDCO and urban development ministry, which is controlled by chief minister Fadnavis,” alleged Nirupam.
AICC chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that the Congress demands an impartial judicial inquiry headed by two sitting judges of the Bombay High Court. “We want to know what is the special relationship between CIDCO, urban development ministry and Paradise Builders, and whether Paradise Builders has a special blessing of Chief Minister Fadnavis as his ministry has enabled them to secure a ‘sweetheart deal’,” said Surjewala.