A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) functionary has alleged Bollywood actor Riteish Deshmukh and his wife Genelia Deshmukh's agro-processing company got a Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) plot out of turn in their hometown Latur during the tenure of the erstwhile Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government. BJP's Latur city vice-president Pradeep More said the company, M/s Desh Agro Pvt Ltd, was formed by Riteish Deshmukh and his wife, who is also an actor, with a capital of Rs 7.5 crore and they own 50 per cent stake each in the firm.
The company was allotted a plot by the state-run industrial corporation in Latur within weeks of its formation in 2021 and just ten days after an application was submitted for the allotment, he claimed.
Despite repeated attempts, the actor-couple was unavailable for comments, but their company denied any illegality in allotment of the plot and said all norms were followed. More said the company was formed on March 23, 2021 and on April 5, 2021, it applied for a plot for building an agro-processing plant. The company was allotted the plot on April 15, 2021.
“The company's capital was worth Rs 7.5 crore, but it paid Rs 15,28,99,300 for a 2,52,726 square metre plot. For this, the company was charged Rs 605 per square metre,” the BJP functionary said.
MIDC allots land at concessional rates to promote industrial ventures in the state. Desh Agro Pvt Ltd was handed over the plot on July 22, 2021, he said. “Sixteen applications (for a plot) were pending before the MIDC for the last two years, but this company (Desh Agro Pvt Ltd) got an approval in 22 days since its formation," he said.
The Shiv Sena-led ruling coalition MVA, which also consisted of the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), was in power in Maharashtra during that period.
Riteish Deshmukh is the son of Maharashtra's former chief minister late Vilasrao Deshmukh. His elder brother Amit Deshmukh was a minister in the MVA government (November 2019-June 2022), while his younger brother is an MLA from Latur district. Despite repeated attempts, the actor-couple was unavailable for comments on the issue plot allotment issue.
More said the actors' company applied for a loan on October 4, 2021, with the Pandharpur Urban Cooperative Bank and disbursal of Rs 4 crore was approved 23 days later on October 27.
The firm applied for a second loan with the Latur District Central Cooperative Bank and Rs 61 crore was approved on October 27, 2021. It took another loan of Rs 55 crore from the bank on July 25, 2022, said the BJP functionary. "We have sought a probe in both (MIDC plot land allotment and loans raised),” More said.
Desh Agro Pvt Ltd's establishment manager Dinesh Kesre termed the charges levelled by the BJP functionary as baseless. The plot has been leased to the company as per law. The loans, too, have been taken following proper procedure, he claimed.