Former Congress MLA Farook Sheikh has moved two public interest litigations (PILs) before the Gujarat High Court against land allocation at throwaway prices to Essar Steel Ltd and K Raheja Corporation Ltd in Surat and Gandhinagar districts respectively.
He has alleged that the allotments were done against legal provisions and without following established procedure by the state government.
Sheikh has sought to set aside the land allocations while contending that they were done by the government to show “so called development in the state and investment of big companies in the state”.
According to the petitioner, K Raheja Corporation Ltd was allocated 3,76,581 square metres land at Koba village of Gandhinagar district at the rate of Rs 470 per square metre in June 2006 without floating tenders or following established procedure of auction. Sheikh has claimed that the present market value of the land is much higher and it is nothing but loss to the exchequer.
In Surat, Sheikh has argued, Essar Steel Limited got 2,07,60,000 square metres of forestland of Hazira (Suvali) village at throwaway price and against norms.
He has also alleged that the state has sent a proposal to the central government to regularise forest land for the use of private company. Sheikh has argued that the allocation is not only loss to the public exchequer but also, loss to the environment.
A division bench has issued notices to the respondents and kept further hearing on January 31.
Meanwhile, Sheikh’s lawyer Harshil Dholakia said the government counsel objected to the PILs while contending that Sheikh filed it to create a controversy at a time when Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors’ Summit is starting.