At Tuesday’s Civic Improvements Committee meeting, corporators across party lines slammed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for losing the ₹500-crore worth Jogeshwari (East) plot which was reserved for hospital and recreational purposes.

Corporators alleged that the civic body failed to acquire the 3.3-acre plot, which remained with the owner owing to negligence of the civic officials and civic lawyers.

Controversy over the land erupted after it was found that the files regarding the plot were tampered with when they were in the law department and the commissioner’s comments were changed from ‘should be challenged in Supreme Court’ to ‘shouldn’t be challenged in Supreme Court’ .

The committee chairman and Shiv Sena member Anant Nar has now demanded an inquiry into the matter.

The plot was reserved in the Development Plan 1991 but since the civic body did not acquire it, the owner sent a notice in May 2014 informing the BMC that he would be free to use it for himself if not acquired in a year.

The correspondence between the owner, BMC’s law department and Development Plan (DP) department went on for more than a year, which led to the lapse of the purchase notice and consequently, the reservation on the plot. As such, the owner refused to hand over the land which was then challenged by the civic body in the Bombay high court.

Corporators said the BMC’s lawyers were absent for most of the court proceedings. Congress party member Ashraf Azmi said, “One of the clerks who was under investigation for tampering the comments was found dead after the investigation started. Also, how can the head of the law department investigate this matter when it is her department that is in question? This issue needs a detailed investigation by a third party.”

Mumbai Congress has decided to file a police complaint against the civic chief regarding this matter.

First Published: Aug 01, 2018 00:33 IST

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