New Delhi: Hema Malini’s plans to start a dance academy on a plot of land in Mumbai’s Andheri area have been described by an RTI activist as “land-grabbing”.
Hema Malini, a former actor and trained Bharatnatyam dancer, belongs to the BJP and represents Mathura constituency in Parliament. A month ago, the Maharashtra government allotted a 2,000-square-metre plot in the heart of Mumbai for her proposed dance school.
According to documents obtained under the Right to Information (RTI) Act by activist Anil Galgali, Hema Malini was allotted the plot worth crores of rupees for just Rs. 70,000 -that’s according to the market value in 1976, used by the government to sanction land for any building for the arts, education or culture. The land is worth 50 crores according to some estimates.
“The issue is that in 1997 she has been given a plot of land by the (then) Shiv Sena-BJP government but she could not develop it due to CRZ (Coastal Regulation Zone) issues. Why did she not return the older plot and then take a new one?” Mr Galgali TOLD NDTV.
After the original allocation in 1997 could not be used because of environmental rules, the parliamentarian was told in 2010 by the then Congress government in the state that she would get a new plot. It’s that commitment that the current BJP-led government has delivered.
The dance school’s proposal estimates an overall cost of 18 crores, and the activist claims that Hema Malini, AGE, has not been able to prove that she has 25% of that money, as required by land rules.
In 2013, a plot of land, also in Andheri, was controversially given at basement-bargain rates to Congress leader Rajeev Shukla for a trust run by his television production company. The then Congress-led government was forced to cancel the allotment because of the controversy that followed.