The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Shinde gets numbers wrong

Mumbai, Oct. 2: Chief minister Sushil Kumar Shinde must be careless with maths.

The BJP has complained to the Election Commission that Shinde has miscalculated the worth of his upmarket Pali Hill flat in Mumbai by almost a crore.

In a written complaint to returning officer Balasaheb Beldar of Sholapur South, from where Shinde is contesting the October 13 Assembly elections, BJP leader Kirit Somaiya said Shinde has lied to the commission and the people in the affidavit he filed declaring his assets.

Shinde has said the flat, which covers an area of 1,000 square feet, is valued at Rs 6 lakh. According to current prices, a square foot in Pali Hill could cost between Rs 7,000 to Rs 20,000. Shinde's flat would cost at least Rs 70,00,000, but probably more, depending on the condition of the building.

Somaiya's letter said Shinde had violated the guidelines and norms of the Election Commission and had not mentioned the market value of the movable and immovable properties.

Somaiya also appealed to the commission to find out about Shinde's other assets and whether they have been under-declared.

A 1,000-square feet flat even in the farthest northern suburbs like Borivli would cost between Rs 20 to 25 lakh ' and Pali Hill is one of the most affluent areas of Mumbai, studded with residences of stars.

On receiving the complaint, the Election Commission could refer the matter to a first-class magistrate and have the matter investigated.

According to legal experts, if Shinde were elected and the information furnished by him found false, his election could be set aside. The BJP has also asked for immediate action against the chief minister.

It could not be bad maths, but a massive oversight by the chief minister, feel some, for under-declaring a flat by so many lakhs on the assets list, which is public information, is a blatant error that not many would like to risk.

Others feel the oversight could be actually a lapse of memory ' perhaps the chief minister has not looked at the flat's current worth, but at the price he bought it at ages ago.

Columnist Anil Dharker, however, has proposed to buy Shinde's Pali Hill flat at even double the price without seeing it, if it is worth Rs 6 lakh. Others, he is sure, are willing to offer 10 times for it.

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