Documents accessed by RTI activist Anil Galgali show the government has allotted a 2,000 square metre prime plot to the BJP Lok Sabha for Rs 87.50 per square metre for construction of a dance academy.
Bollywood actress and lawmaker Hema Malini has been allotted land worth Rs 70 crore for just Rs 1.75 lakh for a dance academy in upmarket Oshiwara in Mumbai under a revised policy of Maharashtra government, an RTI query has revealed.
Documents accessed by RTI activist Anil Galgali from the Suburban Collector’s office shows the government has allotted a 2,000 square metre prime plot to the BJP Lok Sabha MP for Rs 1.75 lakh at a rate of Rs 87.50 per square metre for construction of a dance academy.
An RTI plea filed earlier by Galgali had revealed the actress was allotted the land at a rate of Rs 35 per square metre (costing Rs 70,000). After the issue generated controversy in February this year, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis ordered a revision of the policy of allotting land to private trusts and artists.
Since Malini, a trained Bharatnatyam dancer, has already paid Rs 10 lakh as an advance, the government would have to refund her the outstanding Rs 8.25 lakh, said Galgali.
“This would be a major embarrassment for the government,” he said.
When contacted, Mumbai Suburban Collector Shekhar Channe said, “Yes, we would have to return money to her. However, the money would be return if the government orders us to do so.”
“The land is having a market value of Rs 70 crore has been given to Hema Maliniji for a paltry Rs 1.75 lakh. The state government would have to return Rs 8.75 lakh to her as she gave Rs 10 lakh as an advance in 1997,” he said.
Galgali had sought information from the Collector’s office regarding the rate at which the land has been giving to the actress-politician for the institute.
According to the documents, the land in question is the reserve for a garden, and allotment has done by valuation prevailing as on February 1, 1976, which was Rs 350 per square metre.
“Since a government resolution stipulates that the land allotment in such cases would be done at 25 per cent of the valuation, Hema Malini has got the prime piece of land at the one-fourth of Rs 350 per square metre – that is Rs 87.50 per square metre,” said Galgali.
Malini in the past has refuted allegations of favouritism and land grabbing, saying she had struggled for 20 years to get the plot.
“I am getting 2,000 square meters of land for a dance institute to be built by Natyavihar Kalakendra Charity Trust (headed by her). I will have to develop a garden (on a piece of land which is not part of the academy) and give it to the BMC,” she had earlier said.
(This story originally appeared on The Indian Express)