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Maharashtra May Refer Ambani House Deal To CBI

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The Maharashtra Government is examining the Centre's proposal to refer to the CBI the issue of sale of Wakf land for construction of Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani's luxurious abode 'Antillia'.

Wakf Minister Mohammed Arif Naseem Khan told the Legislative Assembly in a written reply to a question by leader of opposition Eknath Khadse and others, that the Centre had asked the state government in December 2010 to consider referring the matter to the CBI for investigation.

"Accordingly, opinion was sought from the Law and Justice department and the government has now sent the proposal to the state Home department on July 25 seeking its views," he said.

The minister admitted that the plot reserved for education of children belonging to Khoja muslim community was sold by Karimbhai Ibrahimbhai?Khoja orphanage, a charitable trust, to Antillia Commercial private ltd for Rs 21.5 crore in July 2002.

Ambani has constructed a 27-storey skyscraper on the 4532 square metre plot in Malabar Hill. It is said to be one of the most expensive residences in the world.

The deal, the minister said, had been approved by the Mumbai Charity Commissioner on August 27, 2002.

However, despite the plot belonging to the Wakf board its permission was not obtained. Hence, the board sent a notice to M/S Antillia Commercial Pvt Ltd on April 22, 2004 asking why the plot should not be returned to the Wakf board.

Karimbhai Ibrahimbhai Khoja Orphanage deposited Rs 16 lakh with the board on March 23, 2005 after which the latter withdrew its notice.

Khadse said the plot worth Rs 500 crore was grossly undervalued and given away to Antillia for just Rs 21 crore.