Coalition of Democratic Movements, an independent group has come up with answers to specific allegations put on Bhushans
BeyondHeadlines News Desk
New Delhi: A lot of ‘misinformation’ has been spread regarding the allotment of farmland plots by the NOIDA authority to Jayant Bhushan and Shanti Bhushan. In this connection it has to be emphasised that:
(1) This allotment was not made under any discretionary quota.
(2) The total price of the property is Rs. 3.67 crores (not Rs. 35 lacs, as has been quoted in many newspapers) plus Rs 9.18 lakhs per annum lease rent.
Coalition of Democratic Movements, an independent group has come up with answers to specific allegations put on Bhushans.
NOIDA plot allotments:
Q1. Was the land allotted under discretionary quota?
1. The allotment of farm land was not from any discretionary quota but from a regular scheme floated by NOIDA. This scheme was advertised in the news papers and was open for application by any person. It was for farmland plots of 10,000 sq. meters on which a farmhouse of upto 15,000 sq. ft is allowed to be constructed. It was not specified as to where in NOIDA the plots would be allotted.
2. The Bhushans applied for the plots as per the scheme in March 2009.
3. In May 2009, they were called for an interview which they attended, in which the means of finance was verified.
4. In January 2010, NOIDA sent a letter stating that a plot of 10,000 sq. Mtrs in sector 165 had been reserved and the allotment letter would be issued separately.
5. Thereafter nothing was heard from NOIDA authority till January 2011 when by allotment letters dated 05/01/2011, plot Number FH-18 & FH-19, sector-165 measuring 10,000 sq mts was allotted for a total premium of Rs 3,67,50,000 at an allotment rate of 3,500 per sq mtr plus location charges for being on 30m wide road. It may be noted that the allotment rate had gone up from Rs 3,100/persq mtr prevailing earlier to Rs 3,500/-per sq mtr.
Q2. Has the plot been purchased for a “song”, i.e. a throwaway price?
1. The cost of each plot is Rs.3.67 crores plus additional annual lease rent of Rs.9.18 lacs every year for 90 years which translates to more than 75,000 per month will have to be paid for the entire duration of the lease. It is certainly not a throwaway price.
2. The total price of each property is NOT Rs. 35 lacs (as has been quoted in some newspapers). Rs. 83 Lacs have been paid till date. The rest is payable along with interest at the rate of 11 percent.
3. It seems some people have misunderstood the first installment as the total cost of the land.
4. There is nothing to suggest that the Bhushans have been charged less than the market price.
5. Allegations that the allotment rate is a fraction of the market rate are totally unsubstantiated. No sales have taken place in the open market. No one has explained how the alleged market rate has been arrived at.
Q3. What was the criterion for allotment of plots?
1. No criterion for allotment was mentioned either in the advertisement or in the subsequent brochure of the scheme. Applicants were called for an interview which was supposed to determine their ability to pay the requisite amounts for the plots and to determine what the applicants planned to do with their plots.
2. The CEO of Noida has clarified (Business Standard 23/4/11) that out of the 160 applications received, 97 persons were allotted so far and the rest are being considered. Possibly the number of applications was not very high due to the high price and onerous conditions. In case the rate of allotment was much lower than the market value or intrinsic value, clearly the number of applicants would have been many times larger.
3. The brochure did not indicate on what basis the allotment would be made in case the number of applicants was more than the number of plots. Even when the allotment was made, it was unclear as to whether at all the number of applicants was greater than the number of plots or whether a draw of lots should have taken place.
Q4. If the Bhushans knew that the allotment was arbitrary, then why did they not return/cancel their plots? If the Bhushans knew that the allotment was arbitrary, then why did they not return/cancel their plots?
1. No criterion for allotment was mentioned either in the advertisement or in the subsequent brochure of the scheme. However this did not indicate that the criteria used by the NOIDA authority for the allotment of plots would be arbitrary.
2. In fact the Bhushans have already stated that if the allotment of plots is found to be questionable, they would be more than willing to surrender their plots.
3. Moreover, if the plots were to be surrendered after allotment, it would entail a substantial forfeiture of the money already paid.
Q5. Jayant Bhushan was fighting a case against Mayawati. Were the plots then given to the Bhushans to dissuade them from fighting a case against her?
1. No. There is no connection between the cases and the plots. The Noida Park case was argued by Jayant Bhushan tooth and nail in full media glare right till the end. Anyone can look at the judgement delivered in the case or contact the 2 petitioners in the case.
2. The fact also is that there are two blocks in which farm plots were allotted. The Bhushans have been given plots in the worse of the two which is about 10 kms further away and currently in a totally undeveloped area unapproachable by any proper road.
3. It now turns out that several persons were allotted plots in a much better location (in/around sector 125 NOIDA) and much earlier and at a lower rate of Rs 3,100/-per sq mtr even though applications were made at a similar time. The Bhushans may infact have been discriminated against by :
a. Making them wait for an extra year for allotment without giving any extra interest on the registration money.
b. Allotting plots at a location more than 10 km further away than the plots allotted to the initial allottees. These plots are obviously of much lower value than the plots in the initial sectors.
c. Allotting the plots at a higher rate (3,500/sqm as compared to 3,100/sqm)
4. Any suggestion that the Bhushans got the allotment as a favour from the Mayawati government because Jayant Bhushan was arguing the NOIDA park case against the government is totally incorrect. On the contrary, that may be the reason for the delay and poor location of allotment.
5. In fact even now, Prashant Bhushan and Mr. Shanti Bhushan are appearing against the Mayawati government in the very important case relating to the Taj corridor scam. The question of favouring the Bhushans by the Mayawati government does not arise.
Q6. Do you think the doubts raised by people on the allotment of these plots are reasonable?
1. A PIL was filed in the Allahabad High Court challenging the scheme/allotments. This was dismissed last year by a bench of the High Court.
2. Another writ petition was filed by Mr Vikas Singh, former additional solicitor general, who had also been allotted a plot in the same vicinity as that of the Bhushans. His grievance was that the better plots in the initial sectors (in/around sec-125) had been allotted to favoured persons and that his plot was in a very bad location. 2 other persons who had not as yet been allotted a plot also
Challenged the allotments. This petition has also been dismissed by the Allahabad High Court on 16/04/2011. Vikas Singh has been shouting in the media that these plots were worth 15-20 Crores and were being given by paying bribes. His petition was not a PIL challenging the allotments. He was seeking a better plot for himself and allotments for his co-petitioners. In fact, though he had applied in the 2010-11 schemes (19 months after the Bhushans, he was allotted a plot at the same time and at the same price at in an adjacent sector. He made an alternative prayer that if he is not allowed a better location, then the allotments should be cancelled and the plots be auctioned. Obviously, he did not think that the plots were worth much more than what he was being asked to pay.