As the ghost of the Urban Land Ceiling (ULC) scam returned to haunt the real estate sector and town planners of the twin-city, the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) got its new assistant director town planning (ADTP) on Thursday. In an order issued by the state urban development department (UDD) Hemant Thakur who is attached to the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) has been directed to shoulder the additional responsibility.
Thakur is expected to take charge on Monday. The action is the aftermath of the absence of MBMC’s town planning officer Dilip Ghevare who was taken into custody by the Thane police on 25 June for his alleged complicity in the ULC scam.
MBMC chief Dilip Dhole had written to UDD seeking fresh appointments to the post of ADTP and Town Planner (TP) for the town planning department which not only plays a crucial role in the planned development of the twin-city, but is also one of the major source of revenue generation for the civic body.
The Thane police is probing multiple survey numbers related to the land scam which involves cheating the Thane Urban Agglomeration and the state government of crores by procuring building permissions on the basis of forged orders and violating the Urban Land (Ceiling & Regulation) Act (ULCRA).
It has been alleged that in some cases land falling under residential zones were shown as green zones. While more builders, architects and officials are under the scanner of investigations, the police had earlier arrested retired assistant town planner Satyavan Dhanegave, local architect Shekhar Limaye and Bharat Kamble.
The fresh arrests followed in response to an investigation ordered against an IPS officer who had probed the scam during his stint as Thane police commissioner, sources said. Notably, four real estate developers including Shyam Sunder Agarwal, Shailesh Shah, Ratilal Jain and Manoj Purohit were arrested in 2017 for procuring building permissions on the basis of forged orders declaring their lands exempt from the ULC Act.