The Anti-Corruption Bureau of Maharashtra Police on Thursday filed a First Information Report against builder Niranjan Hiranandani and senior IAS (Indian Administrative Services) officer Thomas Benjamin, presently the Additional Chief Secretary of the Urban Development department, among others, on suspicion of their involvement in a land scam worth Rs. 30,000 crore.
The scam is about the allotment of 344 acres, which were earmarked for mass housing projects, but which were allegedly used illegally by Mr. Hiranandani for building Hiranandani complex, a renowned location in Powai, Mumbai.
“Pursuant to this position that the land would be used for mass housing, the government of Maharashtra took the decision to return the said land to the erstwhile land owners whose Power of Attorney was held by Niranjan Hiranandani, and to drop the acquisition proceedings and the acquired land was returned to the landowners at a price of Re. 1 per hectare,” according to Y.P. Singh, advocate for complainant Santosh Daundkar.
“Once the entire land came in possession of the accused Mr. Hiranandani, he then entered into a criminal conspiracy with the public servants. In furtherance to such criminal conspiracy, Mr. Hiranandani decided to cheat the weaker sections and thereby, consciously and intentionally flouted the basic condition on which the land was returned back to the landowners under the provisions of the Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Act, 1976,” the complaint alleged.
The complainant claims that if calculated according to the current market price, the quantum of the scam will be around Rs. 45,000 crore.
The ACB registered an FIR against Mr. Hiranandani, Mr. Benjamin and unknown government officials under section 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, section 120-B read with section 166, 217, 409 and 420 the Indian Penal Code, sections 38, 41 of the Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Act, 1976 and sections 52 and 53 of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966.