The Madhya Pradesh Lokayukta has summoned the state principal secretary, finance, to appear before it on February 22 in connection with a probe into the allotment of 260 acres of land owned by Provident Investment Company Limited (PICL), Mumbai — a PSU of the finance department.
The summons comes at a time when the CBI has recorded two FIRs against MP government officials in a land controversy and is questioning IAS officer Anirudha Mukharjee, principal secretary in the MP sports and youth welfare department, in Mumbai. Mukharjee holds additional charge as PICL managing director. TOI tried to contact Mukharjee for his comments on the matter but couldn’t get through.
While the lokayukta is probing an alleged scam in the allotment of 260 acres of PICL land in Thane to 130 people on lease 55 years ago, the CBI’s FIRs pertain to the allegedly fraudulent transfer of 314 acres of prime land to builders in the same area. It is not yet clear if both are probing the same case.
Top government officials believe the MP government has lost its prized land to Mumbai builders. The lokayukta has been probing this case since 2015; the CBI registered the two FIRs against MP officials in December 2017.
The complaint with the lokayukta was filed by an advocate who alleges that some state government officials, in connivance with Thane Municipal Corporation officials, disposed of prime land at throwaway prices, causing major financial loss to the MP government. The finance department, however, has told the lokayukta that it still has control over 260 acres of land in Thane and is getting lease rent. The department has produced a lease renewal application, submitted by Ms National Stone Quarry Ltd, which was allotted 52,600 sq m of land in 1963 at Rs 3,200 per annum. The lease was increased to Rs 5.30 lakh per annum in 2001, according to the MP finance department.
The lokayukta, however, was not satisfied with the reply and has sought the status of the rest of the land, and the revenue generated from it. The finance department has not been able to make a proper submission on points raised by the lokayukta, said sources in the organisation. “The MP Lokayukta and CBI are investigating the same case but there is a difference in the size of the land. The lokayukta has 269 acres on record whereas CBI has 314 acres,” said an officer.
The roots of the CBI case date back to the days of the Princely State of Gwalior in 1925. The transfer of 314 acres in Majiwada and Yeoor — once held by Gwalior State and, after Independence, the Union government as mortgage — took place in 1968. The CBI has filed cases of criminal conspiracy, cheating and corruption against unidentified officials of PICL, the MP finance department and Thane Municipal Corporation.