Nagpur, Dec 16 : The Maharashtra government has ordered an inquiry into alleged “commercial use” of land allotted to Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), publisher of National Herald, for setting up Nehru Memorial Library and Rsearch Centre in Mumbai, according to BJP Mumbai unit president Ashish Shelar. Congress, however, refuted the allegation and dubbed the probe ordered by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis as a
“political stunt.”

Shelar, a BJP legislator, told reporters here that he had raised the issue on December 10 during the winter session of the state Assembly. According to him, the state government had in 1983 alloted to AJL 3478 sq meter of land in Bandra on the Western Express Highway for setting up Nehru Memorial Library and Research Centre. But, no construction was taken up on the plot till 2013. That year, however, permission for “commercial construction” was accquired from the Mumbai Municipal Corporation and an 11-storeyed “Congress Bhavan” is being
built there, he said. (Also Read: Congress using National Herald case to harm national interest: BJP)

Shelar told reporters he had raised the issue during the winter session of the Assembly on December 10 as it involved violation of land allotment rules and demanded that the government take back the land following which Fadnavis had ordered an inquiry. Rubbishing the charge of wrongdoing, Mumbai Congress unit president Sanjay Nirupam dubbed the announcement of the probe as a “political stunt”. He said the municipal corporation gives two kinds of permission–residential and commercial– and commercial permission had been obtained by AJL.

Maintaining that the Congress does not want to use the land for residential purposes, he said only after construction work is complete one can say whether it is being used commercially or not. “It is too premature to allege that commercial activity is being undertaken on the land and the building coming up there,” he said. A library and research centre as well as the facility for publication of the National Herald will be set up there, he added.