Mumbai: The Maharashtra government on Wednesday announced a probe into allegations that Suzlon Energy Ltd had acquired land for its windmill projects from tribals in two districts at very cheap prices and had later sold it to certain celebrities at very exorbitant prices.
“A committee headed by a retired secretary, and two additional chief secretaries from revenue and non-conventional energy department would probe the charges,” minister for non-conventional energy Vinay Kore informed the Legislative Council.
The state government is readying a comprehensive policy which would lay the guidelines for land acquisition for windmill projects and it would benefit tribals, the minister said, adding that the policy would be approved within eight days.
The minister’s announcement came after the Opposition raised the issue of land deals for Suzlon project in Dhule and Nandurbar districts.
BJP leader Nitin Gadkari said that those who purchased land for the windmill project include actors Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Twinkle Khanna and Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh.
In the Assembly, Leader of Opposition Ramdas Kadam said Suzlon bought tribal land in Dhule and Nandurbar district at throw-away prices and sold it to celebrities at astronomical rates. Suzlon earned Rs5,000 crore by selling this land.
Suzlon had bought the land in the names of Aishwarya Rai, Amitabh Bachchan, Twinkle Khanna and Amar Singh, Gadkari said. Stating that Suzlon had cheated tribals by acquiring the land for Rs7,000-25,000 per acre, Gadkari said the government should make a provision to ensure that the tribals get Rs1 lakh per month from the company.
Reacting to the allegations, Suzlon termed the allegations as “unjustified and baseless.”
“Suzlon practices the highest corporate governance standards to ensure full compliance to all legal and regulatory requirements for setting up its projects. Any allegations on our compliance or practices are unjustified and baseless,” Suzlon said in a statement.
“We are surprised by the state government’s decision of an enquiry considering the work done by Suzlon in the state of Maharashtra. We will extend our full cooperation for any enquiry,” Suzlon said in a statement.