An RTI query by activist Anil Galgali revealed that a huge plot of acquired land in Mumbai was allegedly ‘gifted’ to the Tata Group at throwaway price by the previous Democratic Front government led by Congress party.
Then Revenue Minister Mr. Balasaheb Thorat during final days of his tenure, gifted 32,182.20 square metres of acquired land at Magathane to Tata Steel Company at very low price. This disclosure came after RTI activist Anil Galgali sought paper in this regards through RTI. After the revelation, Galgali requested Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to cancel the allotment.
Giving details, he said the acquired piece of prime land in Borivali East, opposite the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, worth over Rs 3,000-crore, was allotted to Tata Group at dirt cheap rates.
“This acquired land could have been used for public or low-cost housing, but now it will be utilised for construction high-end luxury apartments. It is a good example of how land acquired from the poor is handed over to the rich,” Galgali said.
According to documents acquired by Galgali from the Mumbai Suburban District collectorate under the RTI, the state government had acquired the plot (32,182.20 sq. mt.) in the 1960s under the Land Acquisition Act.
It was meant for extending godowns and making residential quarters for the workers of the company, Special Steels Ltd, which was later taken over by Tata Steel.
In 2001, new owners Tata Steel sold a part of the land, 3,051.80 sq. mt. to a leading private builder for commercial and residential purposes.
However, Galgali said, in the process Tata Steel violated government rules which stipulated that before handing it over to any other party, it must take the government’s permission but it defaulted and sent a request to the collector only subsequently, seeking transfer of the property.