Bishop arrested for land sale
The land, belonging to the Indian Defence, in 1953 was leased to the Bombay Diocesan Trust Association on a 99-year lease for 1 rupee a year.
Posted on March 18, 2012, 7:24 AM
Mumbai: A retired bishop of Church of North India was among three people arrested for allegedly selling a defence land in Mumbai, western India.
The police’s Economic Offences Wing arrested Bishop Baiju Gavit, lawyer Rajnikand Salvi and his brother Shashikant Salvi on a complaint from Shapoorji Pallonji Group, a business conglomerate based in Mumbai, The Times of India reported today.
The police received a complaint from the business firm’s legal department alleging that the bishop and team sold a 4,266-sq-yard land on Hazarimal Somani Marg near Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminal for 55 million rupees.
The land, belonging to the Indian Defence, in 1953 was leased to the Bombay Diocesan Trust Association on a 99-year lease for 1 rupee a year. The plot houses a heritage structure.
According to the police, it was among several properties in Maharashtra that the Indian government leased out to the association for its educational and cultural activities.
Investigating officer C B Tatkare said no one can sell or buy such properties.
However, the Church team approached the construction company that the Defence had allowed them to redevelop it. They promised to submit necessary permission from defence and the charity commissioner.
The police said although the accused claimed to have sent all the documents to the defence ministry, investigations revealed they had not done so.
The builder wanted to put up a 33-storey building on the premises.
The developers approached the police after they failed to get a satisfactory document or reply.
The police have frozen two bank accounts belonging to the accused.
Bishop Gavit’s successor Bishop Prakash Patole was out of station and not available for comment.
But the secretary of the Maharashtra Council of Churches, Rev Victor Gollapally, said it was an unfortunate incident. "Church institutions are to be used for ecclesiastical, social, educational and health purposes and not to be sold," he said.
Incidentally, another group in the association had approached another builder to sell the same property.
The Shapoorji Pallonji Group is engaged in construction, real estate, textiles, engineering goods, shipping and biotechnology and other activities. The company built the Brabourne stadium in Mumbai and the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in New Delhi.Source:timesofindia.indiatimes.com Courtesy: ucanews.com
Land Sale , Arrest , Bishop , Baiju Gavit , Shapoorji Pallon ,Bombay Diocesan Trust