Monday, December 12, 2011

News Article: Haryana: 2,000 acres of green land gifted to mafia

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
Gurgaon, December 08, 2011
First Published: 01:35 IST(8/12/2011)

The district administration has unearthed a major property fraud committed by own officials who tampered with revenue records of 2,000 acres of forestland in favour of private parties in Sohna. Later, some private developers purchased about 400 acres of shamlat land (village common land) on the Aravalli hills from these individuals.

The developers then sold the land to buyers, including celebrities, for setting up farmhouses. The developers have claimed that they had purchased the land from ‘bonafide land owners’ and developed farmhouses for the customers. 

The district administration, which had registered cases against the accused officials, claimed that developers might not have been aware of the illegality of the property.

“The said land belongs to Municipal Committee Sohna and girdawari (land records) of this land was changed illegally in favour of private parties by the two naib tehsildars (revenue officers) in Sohna. FIRs have been lodged against them. I have also recommended departmental action against them,” said PC Meena, Gurgaon deputy commissioner.

One of the accused, Mohammed Ishaq — during his posting as naib tehsildar in Sohna from March 1999 to June 1999 — had pronounced decisions on 11 suits filed in the revenue court.

In his decisions the girdawari of the government land was changed allegedly in favour of private shareholders without making the forest department a party, who was in possession of the land.

These suits involved about 206 acres. It has been alleged that the unlawful decision of the naib tehsildar benefited the land mafia. 

In a similar case involving about 95 acres of Sohna Municipal Committee, naib tehsildar Mahender Singh Phogat delivered allegedly faulty decisions in 12 suits filed in his revenue court.

These decisions were pronounced between July 21, 1999 and March 3, 2000.

NK Sehgal, senior consultant, Ansal API, said his firm had purchased 1,200 acres of land in the region from an individual who had clear land titles.

“Till that time there was no notification in the Environment Act that came later in 1992. We also had moved Ministry of Environment and Forests and had got approval from it as well as from town planning department as there was no Section 4 or 5 of Land Preservation Act implemented at that time,” he added.

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