THANE: Police on Saturday arrested a builder from Mira-Bhayander township for failing to surrender excess land to the government under the Urban Land Ceiling (ULC) Act. Shaymsunder Agarwal was arrested while his brother Murlidhar Agrawal and architect Anil Motiramani were booked by Thane city police on the complaint of Milan Gandhi, a real estate agent. Police have also booked some officials of the ULC department of the collectorate and the civic corporation.
Cops suspect several former revenue as well as municipal corporation officers to be involved in the scam, which may run into over Rs.100 crore. Agrawal was produced in the holiday court and remanded to police custody till Tuesday. Police said they have unearthed a fraud to the tune of Rs 11.17 crore.
The builder was supposed to surrender 5% of the land (2,023 sqm or half an acre) to the government for building houses for the economically weaker sections. The FIR said Agarwal fraudulently showed that this portion of the land had been exempted from surrender. “They also managed the non-agriculture and other building permissions from departments concerned by forging an exemption certificate,” said Parag Manere, deputy commissioner of police (crime).
The land under construction with Agarwal was totalling around 23,340 sq mtrs (almost six acres) of which 5% was to be handed over to the government, said Bharat Shelke, assistant commissioner of police. The officer said the builder managed to procure an exemption certificate under Section 20 of the ULC Act and carried out construction on the plot in Mira Bhayander locality.
Further probe will reveal more such violations under section 20 of the ULC Act in various civic corporation limits in the district, he said. This kind of nefarious activities thus usurping the land for the benefit of the builders has been going on for more than 20 years it was stated. ULC Act was scrapped some years ago, but some cases where builders were to surrender land are still continuing.
Credits ET Realty