11:55 PM

A 2,821-sq-m government owned plot in Andheri, reserved for a primary school, was sold to BAG Films Education Society (BFES) for a paltry Rs 98,735 in 2008.

A 3,534.70 sq m plot adjacent to the first one, reserved for a playground, was allotted to BFES on a 15-year lease for just Rs 6,309.

Anuradha Prasad is the chairperson of the society, while her husband, Member of Parliament Rajeev Shukla, was secretary when the society applied for the plots way back in 2007. The state revenue department accepted the request and allotted the two plots to BFES in September 2008.

Ajit Deshpande from Shukla's office said, "When the application was made in 2007, Rajiv Shukla was secretary of BAG Films Education Society. He stepped down eight days later. The application was cleared by the government in 2008."

When allotting the plots, the government calculated their value based on 1976 rates, or Rs 140 a square metre. For the first plot, the state charged BFES only 25 per cent of this value, or Rs 98,735, while making it clear that the land could be only be used for a primary school.

The second plot, reserved for a playground, was given to BFES on a 15-year lease on the same day. Its lease amount was pegged at 10 per cent of the land's value in 1976, or Rs 6,309.

Anuradha Prasad, however, denied any foul play in the allotments, and maintained that both plots would be used for their intended purposes - a primary school and a playground. "The rates were calculated by the government and we paid the sum that was expected from us. It is for the government to decide the value of the plot," she said. She added that her society runs a school in Noida for 1,000 children and has experience in running such institutions. "If anything we have not been able to start the school for the past five years due to encroachments on the plot. We are still at it," she said.


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