Rs 175 crore relief to Anil Ambani; details here
The Maharashtra government has ruled that merely changing trustees does not amount to the transition of property rights. The order by the state Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil is all set to benefit the Kokilaben Ambani Hospital in Andheri, DNA reported today. The hospital is currently embroiled in a case and owes the Mumbai Suburban Collector Rs 174 crore in fines. In a previous order, the Mumbai Suburban collector had said that the Malati Vasant Heart Trust had moved the ownership rights to the hospital. However, revenue minister's order means the fine need not be paid.
Details of the case:
The DNA reports said that Late Dr Nitu Mandke, who had become famous for his timely surgery on Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray in the late 90s, was allotted a 14-acre plot in Andheri in December 1997. He had planned to build a hospital on the plot but it got derailed after his death in 2003. The Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani group offered to revive the hospital in 2009 with Tina, Anil and Kokilaben Ambani as trustees on the Malati Vasant Heart Trust. The trust also had Mandke’s wife Dr Alka Mandke as one of the trustees. For facilitating the construction of the hospital, which was named after Ambani's mother Kokilaben, it was allotted an FSI of 5.
However, the Collectorate slapped a notice on the hospital for "exploiting space for commercial purposes other than a hospital" in 2014. The order said the hospital housed several offices of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Group, a gift shop, spa, a food court.
The Collectorate's order had observations from a report by the state Comptroller and Auditor General of India, which had claimed a potential revenue loss for the change of property rights. The collectorate had slapped a fine of Rs 174.88 crore on the trust in 2014, which included 75 per cent of price of the plot as per the Ready Reckoner Rate prevalent in 2008 and fine,
The trust then challenged the Collectorate's order with the state Revenue Minister, who can adjudicate such cases as a quasi-judicial authority.
Patil said there was no mention of any condition by the state government about seeking prior approval before adding any trustees. He further said 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).
The minister further said 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.