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The Times of India: Jogeshwari plot probe names four more BMC officials.
Mumbai: An additional inquiry report against four civic officials and a former chief engineer of the Development Plan (DP) department in the Rs 500-crore Jogeshwari plot fiasco has pointed out that repeated delays on their part had led to the BMC losing the land acquisition case in the Supreme Court. The report, submitted to municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta on Thursday, has suggested that action be taken against the errant officials.
While the retired official did not respond to the chargesheet, replies of the four officia-ls were found to be unsatisfact-ory. “The BMC chief will decide on the action to be taken ag-ainst them,” said an official.
In a related development, BMC has filed a review petition against the dismissal of a special leave petition in SC stating that new facts have emerged on the ownership of the plot and there is a ‘question on the valid title of the plot’.
Earlier, in November 2017 the HC had held that the plot’s reservation for a recreational ground and a hospital had lapsed and petitioner G Shukla, who claimed to be the land owner, was free to develop the property. The HC had said BMC had not taken any steps to acquire the 14,000-sqm plot within 12 months of a purchase notice issued by the owner under law. On June 19, BMC filed a special leave petition before the SC, but lost the case.
On July 27, Mehta ordered an inquiry against legal and DP department officials for having carelessly handled the case. During the inquiry, show-cause notices were issued to six legal officials and 14 DP officials. It also emerged that five more officers, including a former chief engineer, were responsible for the delay in acquiring the plot. But by then the preliminary report was submitted to the civic standing committee chairman on August 20. While four officials were suspended following the initial inquiry report, a full-fledged departmental inquiry was ordered against nine others. The remaining were held guilty of poor supervision and appropriate action was proposed against them.