Friday, March 16, 2012

News Article: Land grab around Chandigarh

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear that it is in favour of a commission of inquiry to look into allegations of encroachments on government and panchayat land in the periphery of Chandigarh.

According to the Punjab government, around 24,000 acres of the land is under illegal possession of some people, including top ranked bureaucrats and politicians.

Punjab Chief secretary S.C. Aggarwal has placed the list of encroachers in Naya Gaon, Kurali, Zirakpur, Kharar and other nearby areas. The affidavit, attached with a 700 page list of encroachers from government departments, forest and village panchayats was also placed before the bench.

After going through the affidavit of the chief secretary, the Bench said the number of individual encroachers would run into “several thousands”. Referring to the report, the Bench observed that according to the Chief Secretary’s report, a considerable number of highly placed government servants were not encroachers and could have been purchasers of the encroached properties.

The bench fixed the next date of hearing for April 23 and held that since state was to play a major role in the enquiry, the bench would like to hear the State on the issue of appointing a commission of inquiry before passing the final order.

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Why not set up probe panel, HC to Punjab

TNN Mar 15, 2012, 05.23AM IST

Tags: Punjab|probe panel|Land row|HC

CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday asked the Punjab government why the court should not constitute a commission to probe illegal occupation of village common land/forest land by high-ups and bureaucrats in the periphery of Chandigarh.

It was asked by a division bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Mahesh Grover, while hearing a matter regarding acquisition of "nami" or "benami" properties by the high-ups, including senior IAS, IPS officers and politicians, in the UT's periphery. The bench was not happy with a reply filed by the Punjab chief secretary (CS) about the details of the land and action taken by it. An affidavit submitted that former minister and Congress MLA Jagmohan Singh Kang, his wife Rajinder Kaur Kang, his son Aminder Singh Kang, former DGP N P S Aulakh, former bureaucrats J S Kesar, Daljit Singh Dhillon, ex-MLA Balwan Singh, former police officers Gurcharan Singh Pherurai, Mukhtyar Singh, retired DSP of Chandigarh Police B D Bector and retired UT executive engineer Jitender Singh are among those who are in possession of illegal land in the periphery area.

The affidavit, however, did not name any other senior politician, bureaucrat owning land in the controversial area.

The bench was of the view that only a commission can probe the matter independently. But before making any order, the bench has asked the state as to why such commission should not be constituted. Now, the matter will come up for hearing on April 23.

The issue of properties in and around Chandigarh held by various VIPs had reached before the HC when a Nayagaon resident Kuldip Singh filed a writ petition, alleging land grabbing by VIPs in UT's periphery. Following the petition, the HC had directed an inquiry into the matter. Initially, the probe was conducted by the then DGP-rank officer, Chander Shekhar. Now, a committee under the supervision of Punjab CS is monitoring the issue.

© 2012 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved

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