Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court on Friday sought replies from the state government, Centre, Gujarat International Finance Tec (GIFT) City Company and private companies on five PILs challenging various land allotments. The division bench of Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice JB Pardiwala has fixed the next hearing in June 2013.
All the petitions, heard separately, challenge the land allotment to private companies, claiming arbitrariness resulting in loss to exchequer. Ghanshyam Patel has challenged allotment of 3,50,000 square meters of land to Essar Steel at Hazira in Surat district, claiming there was no prior notice to public, and procedures were thrown to the wind.
In a PIL against land allotment to Tata Motors for Nano plant at Sanand, Himanshu Patel has alleged that state gave it tax reliefs against VAT, plus it disbursed Rs 167 crore loan at the interest of 0.1 per cent "against the interest of public at large". Pathan Mohammed Rehmat Khan has alleged in his PIL that state government, against the opinion of State Level Valuation Committee, allotted 16,66,070 sq mt of land to GIFT City at Rs 1 per sq meter, instead of seeking market price.
Apart from cancellation of allotment, he has sought CBI investigation, citing report of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) for 2011-12 which has pointed out "large-scale discrepancies in land valuation in case of GIFT City". Khan, in a separate PIL, also challenges the allocation of 160 hectares of land to Larsen and Tubro (L&T) at Hazira.
"Around 80 hectares of land with market price of more than Rs 2,600 per sq meter was allotted at the rate of Rs 700 and another 80 hectares were allotted at a pitiable price of Rs 1 per sq meter," he claims. Advocate Yatin Oza, a former BJP MLA who was denied ticket by BJP in the 2012 Assembly elections, appeared as a senior counsel for all the petitioners.