Mumbai: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said in a report the Maharashtra government was not transparent in selecting a developer for the Lavasa hill station project.
“Hill station type areas in Pune district were identified without any expert study or survey and Lavasa Corp. Ltd (LCL), the project developer, was selected without any transparency,” CAG said in the report that was tabled in the state assembly on Tuesday. “The project was driven by private interest rather than public interest.”
LCL, a subsidiary of Hindustan Construction Co. Ltd, denied the charge. “Time and again, allegations have been levelled against Lavasa. These are based on misconceptions,” LCL said in a statement. “Whilst we suspect lack of clarity and understanding of the facts, we also at times sense an element of malafide intent amongst some detractors.”
CAG also found fault with the manner in which the state government allotted land to the Reliance Group for the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital and Research Institute in Andheri, a Mumbai suburb.
The exchequer suffered a loss of Rs174.88 crore as the 12,050 square metres of land allotted to the Malati-Vasant Heart Trust in 1997 at Rs1 a year for 30 years was transferred to the Reliance Group institute without the state government’s permission, CAG said.
“There is no change whatsoever in the ownership of land allocated to the Malati Vasant Heart Trust, which is the site of the Kokilaben Dhirubai Ambani Hospital...,” a Reliance Group spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “As such there is no question of any income accruing from any supposed transfer of such ownership of its allocated land.”
In another charge, the apex audit body said the state government overlooked violations of lease conditions by educational institutes run by state ministers, including industries minister Narayan Rane, public works minister Chhagan Bhujbal, forest minister Patangrao Kadam, and former chief minister and current Union science and technology minister Vilasrao Deshmukh. Bhujbal and Rane said no rules were violated in allotting land to their trusts.