Mumbai: In a letter dashed to Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde Thursday a local NGO asserted that Reliance Industries Chief Mukesh Ambani had grabbed Waqf land by fraudulent means and urged the minister to initiate a high-level enquiry by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against Ambani and others involved in the case.
“Government cannot reject a CBI inquiry on the ground that a probe is being currently conducted under the provisions of Commission of Inquiry Act 2003”, President of the NGO Muslim-e-Hind, Ameen Idrisi, said while citing the example of the Adarsh Society scam in which simultaneous probes were conducted by the CBI and the judicial commission set up under the Commission of Inquiry Act.
“In Antilia matter too, CBI should launch FIR against the accused Mukesh Ambani, against the officials of Maharashtra Waqf Board and against the Minister of Waqf from 2003 till date for facilitating the accused Mukesh Ambani to encroach upon a Waqf Property and hatching a conspiracy to grab waqf property by adopting fraud”, Idrisi added while addressing a press meet at Mumbai Marathi Patrakar Sangh on Saturday.
“The illegal role of the Charity Commissioner and the trustees should also be investigated by the CBI”, he demanded.
“I found that there is a criminality in the said transaction and fraud has been committed by Mukesh Ambani, Office of the Charity Commissioner, Maharashtra Waqf Board and the trustees. All the accused had entered into criminal conspiracy and disposed of the Wqf Property worth more than 200 crores”, Idrisi, who was accompanied by his lawyer Ejaz Naqvi, said.
Idrisi in a statement released during the meeting said that the land was owned by the Currimbhoy Ebrahim Khoja Yateemkhana (Orphanage), A Public Charitable Trust. The charitable institution sold the land allocated for the purpose of education of underprivileged Khoja children to Antillia Commercial Private Limited – allleged to be an entity controlled by Mukesh Ambani in July 2002 for 210.5 million (US$3.4 million). The prevailing market value of land at the time was at least Rupees 105 Crore,( 10.5 billion) (US$24 million).
The then Waqf minister Nawab Malik had opposed the land sale and so did the revenue department of the Government of Maharashtra. A stay order was consequently issued on the sale of the land in 2003. Also, in 2003 the Waqf board initially opposed the deal and filed a PIL in the Supreme Court challenging the decision of the trust. The Supreme Court however dismissed the petition and asked the Waqf board to approach the Bombay High court.
“The stay on the deal was subsequently vacated after the Waqf board withdrew its objection on receiving an amount of rupees sixteen lakhs ( 1.6 million) from Antilia Commercial Pvt Ltd – the company specially registered on behalf of Reliance Industries Ltd. to construct and pay charges for constructing the said building Antillia”, Ameen Idrisi alleged in the written statement.