3 Maharashtra CMs used their quota to give houses to kin, aides and journalists
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BETWEEN 2003 and 2010, three Maharashtra chief ministers — Sushil Kumar Shinde, Vilasrao Deshmukh and Ashok Chavan — gave away 221 apartments built in Mumbai by the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) under the chief minister's discretionary quota. More than half — 118 — of these highly coveted houses were allotted by Chavan during his 23-month tenure from December 2008, many of them to relatives, aides and acquaintances of politicians, The Sunday Express has found.
The preferential allotment of these houses were made under rules, amended in the 1980s by the state government, allowing subsequent chief ministers to allot two per cent of the total MHADA houses as per their discretion. The beneficiaries also included journalists. Such allotments have since been put on hold by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, who took over from Ashok Chavan in the aftermath of the Adarsh Housing Society scandal.
The beneficiaries of Ashok Chavan's largesse of High Income Group (HIG) apartments include his own relatives, personal secretaries of political heavyweights, a Congress leader from Chavan's home town of Nanded, the cousin of a NCP minister, the sister of a Congress MP and even the son-in-law of a Shiv Sena MLA, data accessed by The Sunday Express shows.
Besides these 118 apartments, Chavan also allotted 200 apartments in MHADA's public housing project in Versova to the Rajyog housing society for serving and former legislators, many of whom already own one or more apartments in Mumbai.
Chavan did not respond to calls, e-mails and faxes seeking his comment on the allotments.
MHADA officials said that there was an increase in the allotment of apartments built by the agency in Mumbai after a April 2004 judgment by the Bombay High Court put an end to the discretionary allotment of MHADA plots in the city by the state government. The Sunday Express had reported last month how under chief ministers Deshmukh and Shinde, MHADA was allowed to sell 20 hectares of land meant for public housing in Mumbai, including to trusts belonging to politicians.
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