Bhayandar: The ghost of the Urban Land Celling (ULC) scam which landed several developers of the city behind bars in 2017, has come back to haunt the real estate sector. The Kashimira police on Friday booked five people under sections 199, 200, 406, 418, 420 of the IPC and under the relevant sections of the Urban Land (Celling & Regulation) Act (ULCRA) for allegedly transferring rights of notified land in Mire village which fell under the ceiling limit. However, no arrests have been made so far.

The action followed in response to a complaint filed by the assistant town planner with the Thane Urban Agglomeration against five people for inking a deed of conveyance with a developer to transfer more than 5,000 sq meter notified land, thus breaching section 20 (rule 9) of the ULCRA Act. “Yes, an FIR has been registered, further investigations are on,” said Senior Police Inspector Vaibhav Shingare.

Passed in 1976, the ULCRA was aimed at preventing profiteering through massive land hoarding and to create affordable housing for the weaker section. While any individual could hold land not more than 500 sq mt, the Act mandated developers to hand over 5% of the flats/surrender surplus land for public housing.

Although ULCRA was scrapped in 2008, developers and landowners still cannot escape liability of surrendering their excess land. The law which prohibits transfer of urban property, clearly states that notices are to be given before transfer of vacant land.

Taking advantage of the skewed policy of the repealed ULCRA, several developers and land owners minted crores of rupees by trading hundreds of acres of notified land falling under the ceiling limit. Around 1,022 layouts had been approved under ULCRA scheme in revenue villages including Bhayandar, Khari, Goddev, Navghar, Mire, Mahajanwadi, Penkarpada, Kashi, Ghodbunder and Versave that fall under the limits of the Mira-Bhayandar Municipal Corporation.