Probe sought against BMC chief in Rs 500 crore Jogeshwari land scam case

[] The Congress has demanded a probe against the BMC commissioner, after the civic body failed to acquire a plot worth Rs 500 crores in Jogeshwari, alleging that there was collusion between private owners of the land and the commissioner

The Congress, on August 1, 2018, demanded a probe against the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner, after the civic body lost the court case of a plot worth Rs 500 crores in a suburb. It also sought an investigation into the ‘mysterious’ death of a BMC worker, associated with the case. The civic body, however, rejected the charges, saying all due processes were followed to acquire the plot, despite the fact that the purchase notice was not served through a proper channel.

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A delegation of Congress corporators, led by Mumbai party unit chief Sanjay Nirupam, met deputy commissioner of police (zone 1) Abhishek Trimukhe and filed a complaint against BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta. The BMC had earlier tried to acquire the 3.3-acre plot in Jogeshwari, for setting up a recreational ground but failed to do so in time and subsequently lost the case in the Bombay High Court and also the land. It wanted to appeal in the Supreme Court, when the municipal commissioner’s remark on an office file was allegedly tampered with, the BMC had earlier said.

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“This is a land scam worth Rs 500 crores, under the nose of none other than the BMC commissioner, who has already been involved in several other scams,” Nirupam alleged. A BMC worker associated with the case had lost his life under mysterious circumstances last month, Nirupam said, alleging that he was killed. “Therefore, I demand that the Mumbai Police book Ajoy Mehta and initiate criminal action against him,” he said.

After the alleged tampering of Mehta’s remarks came to light, the BMC had filed an FIR with the Mumbai Police, against two unidentified persons under IPC sections including 420 (cheating), on May 25, 2018. The civic body had alleged that Mehta’s remark – (the land matter) ‘should be challenged in the Supreme Court’ – was changed to ‘shouldn’t be challenged in the Supreme Court’, which led to the BMC losing the case and the land.

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On July 31, 2018, corporators across party lines had slammed the BMC, for losing the Jogeshwari plot, which was reserved for public utility. Nirupam said they want the FIR’s scope to be widened, by including Mehta and other officials, for their alleged acts of omission and commission. The circumstances under which a peon of the civic body died under mysterious circumstances, in an accident, should also be investigated, the Congress leader said. “The BMC commissioner’s role is under suspicion. We also suspect that there has been a huge payout and collusion, between private owners of the land and Mehta and therefore, his (Mehta’s) name should be added in the FIR,” he said.

The BMC, however, denied the charges. It said the proposal to acquire the plot was submitted to the collector, after approval of the BMC, on November 16, 2017, a senior civic official said. He said the BMC commissioner had, on December 12, 2017, made his remark in the file saying, “This is a serious matter and the same should be challenged in the Supreme Court.” After noting that the commissioner’s remark was tampered, the BMC filed an FIR at the Azad Maidan police station, he said. However, the civic body’s legal department has shown a careless attitude in handling the case and action will be taken accordingly, the official added.

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Category: Lifestyle

Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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