Trustee technicality gives Anil Ambani `175 crore relief
But Patil’s order means the fine need not be paid.
Late Dr Nitu Mandke, who rose to fame after his timely surgery on Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackery in the late 90s, was allotted a 14-acre plot in Andheri in December 1997.
He wanted to build a hospital there, but his death in 2003 derailed plans.
In 2009, the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani group offered to resuscitate the hospital. Tina, Anil and Kokilaben Ambani became trustees on the Malati Vasant Heart Trust, which already had Mandke’s wife Dr Alka Mandke as a trustee. An FSI of 5 was allotted for facilitating construction of the hospital, and it was named after the Ambani matriarch, Kokilaben.
In 2014, the Collectorate slapped a notice on the hospital for ‘exploiting space for commercial purposes other than a hospital’. The order mentioned that the hospital, among other things, housed several offices of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Group, a gift shop, spa, a food court.
It followed observations from a report by the state Comptroller and Auditor General of India that pointed out for potential revenue loss for change of property rights. In 2014, the collectorate slapped a demand of Rs 174.88 crore on the trust, which included 75 per cent of price of the plot as per the Ready Reckoner Rate prevalent in 2008 and fine.
The trust challenged this order with the state Revenue Minister, who can adjudicate such cases as a quasi-judicial authority. Patil ruled that there was no mention of any condition by the state government about seeking prior approval before adding any trustees. He further ruled that the Collector’s order was not clear enough on how the land ownership changed by adding trustees or replacing the dead trustee (in this case, Dr Nitu Mandke). He further noted that the Collector’s order seemed to be based on the presumption that the trust transferred land ownership by adding new trustees, which was not the case.
Patil was helped by several orders pronounced by high courts of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh in similar cases.
Full report: dnaindia.com