Subhash Ghai found himself in the midst of another controversy today when the Bombay High Court today ordered the 20-acre land in suburban Goregaon, where Ghai's film institute Whistling Woods International is located, to be handed over to the Maharashtra government.
While 14.5 acres of the land on which Whistling Woods International is located has been asked to vacate immediately, the remaining 5.5 acre shall be taken over by the government on July 31, 2014 by when all the ongoing courses at the film institute shall be completed. The HC has also restrained Whistling Woods from granting admissions to students for courses, which will go beyond 2014.
The hearing by the High Court was announced based on a PIL filed by Rajendra Sontakke and four other agriculturists from Latur and Osmanabad districts alleging 'gross abuse of power' by former Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh in allotting the land.
Ghai has also been asked to pay rent of Rs 5.3 crore annually since the year 2000 when the director entered into a joint venture with the government to start a film institute.
Commenting on the High Court's decision, Ghai said, "We respect the High Court Judgment and we will appeal to the Supreme Court for our lawful rights. We are at no fault and have done nothing wrong. We had a legal joint venture in 2002 with Film City and us to use the land for building a world class Film and Media Institute which was challenged by a PIL in court after 10 yrs and we hope we will get full justice from the Supreme Court."
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