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Monday , October 8 , 2012
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Salman’s father quizzed on flat deals
Denial of purchase from politician

Mumbai, Oct. 7: Salim Khan, scriptwriter and father of actor Salman Khan, was questioned by Mumbai police’s economic offences wing (EOW) on Friday in connection with a corruption case against former Maharashtra Congress chief Kripashankar Singh.

EOW sources said they wanted clarifications on the prices at which the Khans had purportedly bought two flats from Kripashankar and his family members.

The sources added that Salim said both flats had been bought directly from the builders and not from Kripashankar or his son Narendra Mohan or daughter-in-law Ankita, as alleged.

“Salim Khan was called for questioning in the Kripashankar Singh disproportionate assets case. He came with his chartered accountant. We may call him again for questioning,” an official said.

Despite repeated text messages, Salim and Salman were unavailable for comment.

Bombay High Court had directed police in February to prosecute Kripashankar under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The Enforcement Directorate, too, registered a money-laundering case against Kripashankar last year following allegations that 2G scam accused Shahid Balwa had channelled Rs 4.5 crore into an account held by Mohan. Salman and Mohan are said to be friends.

The flats said to have been bought by Salman and Salim are in Bandra. One is a seafront apartment in a 15-storey building called Tamarisk on Carter Road, where Rajesh Khanna’s bungalow Aashirwad stands.

“Salim bought a three-bedroom apartment from Mohan in 2009 by paying him a cheque for Rs 1.15 crore. A year later, Salman made a cheque payment of Rs 75 lakh to Mohan as full and final payment for the flat,” the EOW source said.

“But a few months later, Mohan returned Rs 50 lakh to Salman, bringing the cost of the flat to Rs 1.4 crore. This is not a realistic value for such a flat.”

Bandra broker Bunny Anand, who has appeared in films such as Agent Vinod as a part-time actor, says that at the current rate of Rs 60,000 per square foot for Carter Road properties, the flat’s value would be around Rs 12 crore. “It’s a 2,000sqft apartment and in 2009, its value would have been Rs 10 crore,” Anand said.

Selim Khan

The other is a triplex apartment on Bandra Bandstand’s sea-face promenade. EOW officials say Salman bought it from Mohan’s wife Ankita, daughter of Kamlesh Singh, a former minister in the Madhu Koda government, who was arrested for alleged financial irregularities, in Jharkhand.

The apartment, in a building called The Address that stands near the midpoint between Salman’s current home Galaxy and Shah Rukh Khan’s bungalow Mannat, is an 8,000sqft flat.

Controversy over this flat first broke in June when a PIL filed in Bombay High Court alleged that Salman had paid Rs 20 crore for a 1,079sqft apartment in Bandra (W), pegging the per-square-foot price at Rs 1.83 lakh — the most expensive rate across the country.

“Per-square-foot rates in the most expensive realty zones of Mumbai, like Nariman Point and Walkeshwar, are between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 1.5 lakh, while the going rate for Bandra Bandstand is around Rs 80,000,” said real estate agent Bharat Lahori.

Later, it came to light that the apartment, built by Dheeraj Realty arm Samudra Developers, was actually an 8,000sqft, three-storey sky villa that went up 11th storey onwards.

“It is an illegal purchase as the registered sale is for 1,079sqft and the rest of the area — housing a car park, swimming pool and reception area — are actually common areas of the building, required to be left vacant for fire safety reasons under Mumbai’s civic rules,” said IPS officer-turned-activist Y.P. Singh, who filed the PIL.

Sources said Salim was questioned as part of investigations into a Rs 5-crore loan Kripashankar had taken from Nihar Constructions Pvt Ltd to buy the flat at The Address that eventually went to Salman.

“While the loan was taken in 2010, an advance payment of around the same amount was made to Samudra in 2009. The same flat was sold to Salman in 2010 for Rs 20 crore by Mohan. So we called Salim Khan for questioning as part of the investigation,” the EOW source said.