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Tax heat on building societies of top guns

Mumbai, Feb. 7: Mumbai’s civic body has issued notices threatening attachment and auctions over property tax dues to two housing societies where Ajit Pawar, Shivraj Patil, Gopinath Munde and other Maharashtra leaders have flats.

Officials in the Sena-run Brinhanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said the societies in upscale Worli owed over Rs 16 crore.

It was not clear whether the leaders were among the flat-owners with arrears. The officials declined to give a break-up of the dues, only saying some were pending since 2006.

NCP leader Ajit is the deputy chief minister. The Congress’s Shivraj Patil is currently Punjab governor and Munde is a senior BJP leader.

The notices, sent on Wednesday, have warned of the action if the arrears are not paid within 21 days. One of the two societies, Sukhda, owes Rs 4.42 crore and the other, Shubhda, Rs 11.94 crore, the officials said. Both are in the same neighbourhood.

A senior BMC official said the societies could clear at least 50 per cent of the dues within the 21-day deadline to avoid action.

This isn’t the first time controversy has stalked the two complexes, whose other prominent members include state forest minister Patangrao Kadam of the Congress and food minister Anil Deshmukh of the NCP.

In April 2013, some of the leaders had been sent BMC notices over modifications made in some shops on the ground floors of the complexes in alleged violation of coastal building rules. The societies are near a seafront.

Shukla land row

An NGO run by Union minister Rajeev Shukla’s family has decided to return two prime Mumbai plots allotted by the state government, after allegations that the rate was far below the market price.

BAG Films Educational Society, of which Shukla is the secretary, has written to the government to surrender the Andheri plots, said a statement issued by the office of chief minister and Shukla’s Congress colleague Prithviraj Chavan. The plots, measuring 6355sqm, were allotted in 2007 for Rs 98,735. Real estate circles say they are worth Rs 100 crore now.