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Bhujbal trust's building to be probed

Maharashtra,Politics, Fri, 06 Apr 2012 IANS

Mumbai, April 6 (IANS) In an embarrassment for PWD and Tourism Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, a team from the Maharashtra Charity Commissioner is to inspect on Saturday the premises of an education trust controlled by him in the posh Bandra west locality.


An official spokesperson for Bhujbal, a senior Nationalist Congress Party leader and former deputy chief minister, in a statement here Friday assured that the concerned Mumbai Education Trust (MET) authorities would extend "full co-operation" to the CC officials.


The CC officials will come calling following an order issued two days ago by Sharadkumar S. Patil, Joint Charity Commissioner, Maharashtra, after allegations of Bhujbal and his family members "misusing" the trust premises.


In his order, Patil has directed Assistant Charity Commissioner Mangesh R. Deshpande to visit the MET building's 8th and 10th floors April 7 (Saturday) in the presence of representatives of the trust and aggrieved parties who have complained to the CC.


Deshpande has been directed to draw up a 'panchnama' in respect of the premises, draw a sketch and submit his report by Wednesday, April 11.


He has also been directed to take photographs and videograph the premises and submit these along with the report, for which the expenses would be borne by the aggrieved party.


Earlier this year, a former MET trustee Sunil Karve had alleged that the Bhujbal family was reportedly occupying the two floors (8th & 10th) in the building for "personal use, without paying any compensation to the MET."


Karve further claimed that entire 8th floor of the property, measuring around 15,000 sq.ft. was converted into a furniture showroom, promoted by Bhujbal's family members.


If leased, this massive area could fetch the MET an annual rent of over Rs.3.60 crore at the prevalent market rates in the area, Karve had claimed while lodging a complaint with the CC and Mumbai Police Economic Offences Wing.


The CC order has temporarily restrained the Bhujbal family and other respondents in the case from using the two floors for any purpose other than those conforming to the objectives of the trust or the approved plan of the municipal body.


The land on which the multi-storied building stands was leased to MET by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation a few years ago for pursuing the objective of educational activities.


The showroom had caused losses to the trust as Bhujbal, despite assurances that they would pay the prevailing market rent, failed to do so, Karve had claimed in his complaint.


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