ACB digs out Rs39-crore Mhada scam

Tuesday, 21 January 2014 - 8:06am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
Top officials flouted norms to give addl FSI, then sold the same to pvt party.

The confidential report of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) investigating the irregularities in the Grahaswapna co-operative housing society at Juhu has revealed a Rs39.20-crore additional floor space index (FSI) scam. Senior officials of the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development authority (Mhada) and state government who are members of this housing society have allegedly violated the development control rules by selling its 28,000 sq ft of additional space (0.4 FSI) at the marker rate.        

According to the ACB report (dna has a copy), the housing society had bought the Juhu plot at a rate of Rs30 per sq ft from Mhada in 1987-88.

In 2002, Mhada’s former vice-president Uttam Khobragade, who is also a member of this society, had sanctioned an FSI of 2.4 against the permissible FSI of 2 for the construction of ground plus ten-storey structure.

However, Mhada had not obtained the approval of the state urban development department in doing so.    

The report also points out that the housing society members bought 28,000 sq ft of additional space in the form of additional FSI from Mhada at a rate of Rs250 per sq ft and the society sold the same space to a private builder for Rs39.20 crore at the market rate of Rs14,000 per sq ft.   

Besides Uttam Khobragade, Mhada chief officer L Hazare, chief engineer Vijay Thakre and personal assistant of vice-president Kamlesh Mirani, who also got flats in this society, were allegedly involved in the allotment of additional FSI. “These Mhada officials violated the development control rule 33 (5) by misusing their power for own benefit,” stated in the probe report.   

A senior Mhada official told dna that they have received the primary probe report recently from ACB. “We will forward the report to the state government soon for further course of action. Mhada cannot take action against its officials; only the government has the power to take action,” he said on condition of anonymity.

Anil Galgali, an RTI activist, said: “This is blatant violation of development control rules. Mhada officials misused their power for their own interest. Besides flats, some of them even received bribes while sanctioning additional FSI. I will write to chief minister Prithviraj Chavan to initiate action immediately. No one should be protected. Misuse of power and practice of grabbing land must be curbed.”

Top officers’ hand
Besides former VP Uttam Khobragade, Mhada chief officer L Hazare, chief engineer Vijay Thakre and personal assistant of vice-president Kamlesh Mirani, who also got flats in this society, were allegedly involved in the allotment of extra FSI. The society members bought 28,000 sq ft of additional space from Mhada at a rate of 250 per sq ft and sold the same space to a private builder for Rs39.20.


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