Land for the car shed.

Land for the car shed.

Aarey Metro car shed row: Sena asks if BJP ‘working’ for builders

3 top builders eyeing plot; could be worth around Rs one lakh crore: Sena

Quaid Najmi | Mumbai | 16 October, 2020 | 11:10 PM

Firing a fresh salvo, the Shiv Sena demands to know whether the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party is "working for the people of the state, or for the builder's lobby" amid a raging controversy over the Mumbai Metro car shed project.

A senior party leader has accused Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis of “leaking sensitive information” pertaining to the Aarey Colony plot versus the Kanjurmarg land for the car shed.

The leader also demanded a Crime Branch probe into the entire saga leading to the cancellation of the Kanjurmarg land on June 1, 2017 allotment of the Aarey Colony land etc.

Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavlamban Mission (VNSSM) president Kishore Tiwari claimed that the ex-CM’s disclosures could “create direct hurdles in the project’s implementation by Maha Vikas Aghadi government” and prove detrimental to the interests of the state and Mumbaikars.

“Fadnavis has been making public sensitive information, violating the Oath of office and secrecy administered to him as the CM. Is he ‘protecting’ some powerful persons or interests besides jeopardising the project by instigating litigation?” Tiwari alleged.

Contending that at least “three top builders” of Mumbai are eyeing the Kanjurmarg plot which could be worth around Rs one lakh crore, Tiwari said that it needed a thorough probe to avoid further delays.

“Who are the so-called ‘salt pan farmers’ in the Kanjurmarg area? Since when are they running the salt pans there? When did they get possession of the land? Where are the agreements/documents pertaining to the land,” he questioned.

“The people must know how the so-called claims by different parties in the Bombay High Court and city civil court resulted in ex-parte stays as the government was not represented and the stay is not yet vacated for years,” Tiwari added.

He pointed out that in all cases, there was some form of ex-parte injunction, without any appearance or opposition by the government lawyers, and no serious efforts were made to get these orders vacated or challenged in the appellate forums or the Supreme Court.

“The poor farmers allegedly sold their land to some builders on a letter of intent/agreement, but on what kind of support documents? Who are the big realtors and expensive lawyers fighting on their behalf? Why government lawyers always remained conveniently absent? Why did the BJP ex-CM do nothing in this matter then?” the VNSSM leader questioned.

Tiwari asked when the government plans to allot barely 102 acres — out of the 3,289 acres in the Kanjurmarg land composite Survey Number 275 — for the Metro car shed project.

“There is so much objection from the BJP — so, who are they trying to shield?”

“Other crucial questions are — Who prepared the committee report in January 2020 which declared the Kanjurmarg land as unviable, assessed the costs and losses? Who advised Additional Chief Secretary Manoj Sounik or the consultants panel that prepared the ‘tailor-made’ report? Who gave the papers to Fadnavis or how they reached Twitter?” Tiwari asked.

“The Crime Branch must probe the entire saga leading to the cancellation of the Kanjurmarg land on June 1, 2017, allotment of the Aarey Colony land, chopping of over 2,000 trees in just 40 hours, appointment of the external committee and how its papers came into the public domain,” he demanded.

Tiwari – accorded a Minister’s status – plans to request Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to head a committee comprising Home Minister Anil Deshmukh and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat to get at the root of the issue “whereby the Kanjurmarg land was discarded to loot the Aarey Colony green belt plot”.

He said if the so-called salt farmers propped by the mystery builders were creating obstacles, what prevented Fadnavis from going to the Supreme Court then, instead of now defending his “failure” in the matter. (IANS)