16 January, 2021

Builders And Friends

The links are so deep that often, it is impossible to distinguish the politician from the real estate man

Builders And Friends
In the first week after the quake, just as Ahmedabad municipal workers and other government agencies were about to blow up a high-rise building considered unsafe in the Satellite area of the city, Gujarat's powerful revenue and finance minister Vajubhai Wala got into the act. He ordered the officials to stop the demolition as it needed to be reviewed by another government agency before a final decision could be taken. The officials resisted and argued but beyond a point they knew they would have to relent, and they did.

What Vajubhai Wala did, of course, could not be considered extraordinary. Reason: anything is possible in Gujarat. Apart from his ministerial responsibilities, Wala also happens to be the biggest property developer and real estate promoter in Gujarat. So big that his talent at redesignating land not fit for housing as 'residential' attracted the attention of the bjp bosses, who then decided that the best place for him was the state cabinet. "It's no secret that Vajubhai owns half the land in Rajkot," says a source.

Outlook investigations reveal that...


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