Medha Patkar files PIL against Powai project

Claims Hiranandani Gardens land was reserved for low-cost housing

Alleging a “crime against humanity” social activist Medha Patkar last month has filed a PIL against builder and developer Niranjan Hiranandani, the state government, MCGM and the MMRDA for illegally usurping the area reserved for low cost housing and allowing the construction of the Hiranandani Gardens at Powai.

The PIL, filed before the Diwali break is likely to come up for hearing next week, when the courts reopen.

The PIL states that as per the Powai Area Development Scheme of January 1977, the MMRDA was supposed to make housing for the poor.

Patkar’s PIL states that Hiranandani took possession of the land and entered into a “criminal conspiracy” with officials. It further alleged that Hiranandani “cheated” people and flouted the law.

“This fraud went on, and is going on, openly and blatantly with the profound sense of impunity, as the MMRDA and MCGM gaze at it,” the PIL states. Officers of the MMRDA, MCGM, and the Urban Land Ceiling department should also be held responsible as without their connivance this “mammoth scam” could not have happened, the PIL states.

Hiranandani, however, said that the allegations made by Patkar were totally irrelevant and misleading. “The allegations have been levelled without studying the case properly. Another PIL making similar allegations has already been thrown out by the court. How can building a complex be a crime against humanity?” Hiranandani retorted.

Patkar’s advocate YP Singh said that the ‘scam’ was unearthed after a year of rigorous investigations. She has urged the court to appoint an enquiry committee and direct the government to take over the land and convert it into housing tenements for the weaker sections. The PIL has demanded that all the profits earned by Hiranandani “illegally” should be divested from him.        


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