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Maha govt assures HC it will not take action against Ghai’s Whistling Woods

The Bombay High Court today asked the Maharashtra Government to respond to a petition seeking review of its 2011 directive asking the Whistling Woods International (WWI), an acting school and studio founded by Subhash Ghai, to vacate the land it currently occupies in Film City at suburban Goregaon.

The court had ordered WWI to vacate the land by July 31, 2014.

The government made a statement before a division bench headed by Chief Justice Mohit Shah today saying they would not take action against Whistling Woods until July 28 when the matter has been posted for hearing.

The Statement made by the Advocate General (AG) Darius Khambata that no action would be taken against the acting school by July 28, was taken on record by the bench.

The 20-acre land had been allotted for Subhash Ghai’s film academy Whistling Woods by the erstwhile Vilasrao Deshmukh government in 2000.
In 2003, questions were raised in certain quarters on alleged undervaluation of land at Rs 3 crore as against the market rate of Rs 31 crore.

In 2004, the high court had noted that the government was desirous of shifting from a joint venture to a lease model.

The state then asked the Whistling Wood not to develop the remaining 14.5 acres of land (out of the total 20 acres allotted) where the hostel and studio were to come up.

Meanwhile, the high court in 2011 ruled against the Whistling Wood and directed it to return the unused 14.5-acre land and vacate the rest by July 31, 2014.

The decision was upheld by the supreme court in 2012.

The court was hearing a PIL that had challenged the land allotment alleging impropriety.

In 2011, a steering committee was set up to suggest on what terms Whistling Wood could be shifted from a joint venture to a rental model.

Aggrieved by this, ‘Mukta Arts’ of Subhash Ghai filed a review petition before the high court against its 2011 directive asking the school to vacate the premises at Film City.

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