SC asks Ghai to return land allotted to film institute
New Delhi: In a setback to film producer Subhash Ghai, the Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the Bombay High Court order quashing the 20 acre land allotted to his film institute in Filmcity.
A Bench of Justices H.L. Dattu and C.K. Prasad also pulled up former Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh for allotting the land in 2004, saying the Chief Minister cannot bend or bypass rules to give away government land.
One cannot be treated as blue-eyed boy for whom Chief Minister can bend or bypass rules to give away the land of the State, the Bench said.
The Supreme Court further said that they there is lack of transparency in the allotment of land as many Chief Ministers prior to Mr. Deshmukh had not cleared the project.
“The State government has given land to its blue-eyed boy for a paltry sum of money,” the Bench said.
“You are a great film maker, but there are greater film makers also. Why you have been chosen? There must be transparency,” the Bench observed.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi appearing for Mr. Ghai, pleaded that more than Rs. 50 crore has already been invested in the institute, Whistling Woods and it should not be destroyed and submitted that he (Mr. Ghai) should at least be granted lease on the property. The Bench, however, was not convinced and said that he can participate in the bidding process for the property.