Wednesday, March 20, 2013

2,870 acres of shamlat deh land at Karoran village grabbed: Tribunal

RAGHAV PHRI: Chandigarh, Sat Mar 16 2013, 01:15 hrs
Mullanpur Garibdas and Mirzapur being usurped by multinationals and politicians'

A whopping 2,870 acres of shamlat deh (common village) land is under unauthorised occupation at Karoran (Nayagaon) village. The land has been grabbed by 4,097 persons. Appalled at the "havoc being caused on the spot where the land is changing hands through various general power of attorneys and sale deeds", the Judicial Tribunal has recommended that the said land be returned to the Gram Panchayat.
The tribunal, constituted to probe alleged illegal properties owned by several high-ups in the city's periphery, has recommended strict action against the land grabbers, revenue authorities and those presiding over the civil courts for allowing the "land scam".
The tribunal has referred to several thousand sale deeds which have been registered illegally since 1995. "This (illegal registration) is being multiplied even now. Since the shares of the so-called share-holders were never demarcated on the ground, no revenue official gave to the share-holders the nishan dehi (demarcation) or physical possession of the area," reads the 42-page report submitted to the High Court earlier this week.
Holding the authorities guilty of allowing illegal change in the revenue records, the tribunal has held that "looked from any angle, the land in dispute has throughout been village common land and as such vested with the Gram Panchayat and its ownership could not be changed in favour of the landowners by the Assistant Collector and the mutation is obviously illegal, without jurisdiction and liable to be ignored".
The Patwari of the said village told the tribunal that "on their own the purchasers of shares from the share-holders took possession of certain areas without any authority of law. The share-holders have sold their shares to different persons indiscriminately".
Referring to Col (retd) B S Sandhu, the tribunal has held that "the largest number of shares were purchased by Col (retd). B S Sandhu, his family and his societies/corporations. Col B S Sandhu is occupying the totality of the 4,709 kanals of land. No partition of the land was held by any authority. Col Sandhu took possession of the huge chunk of land without any authority of law. We are prima facie of the view that the original mutations post which Sandhu purchased the land are without jurisdiction and illegal. The subsequent vendees are illegal".
The properties which have come under the scanner of the tribunal are: World Wide Immigration Consultancy Services (WWICS); World Wide Immigration Resort; Green Earth Society; and Dashmesh Educational Society.
"Apart from Col B S Sandhu, there are large numbers of other occupants who are having farm houses etc illegally," reads the report regarding Karoran village.
However, Col (retd) Sandhu said the land in question was "not a shamlat land any more and stood vested with the right holders of the village from whom we had purchased the land". Referring to High Court judgments which already have settled the "dispute", Col (retd) Sandhu said "the right holders were competent to sell their land since the same never belonged to the Panchayat of village Karoran. "The land owners have been cultivating the land in question even before 1950 and have been in its possession".
Mullanpur Garib Das Village, Mohali
Expressing serious concern over the increasing unauthorised occupation of village common land, the tribunal has sought High Court intervention to save the village from further illegal occupation.
"Village Mullanpur Garib Dass is very strategically situated village and has acquired considerable importance. Large number of multinationals have taken up lands in and around this village and are in process of constructing flats etc," reads the report. The tribunal has drawn attention of the court towards litigation of 2,295 bigha, 15 biswas of shamlat deh (common village) land which has been hanging fire for the past three decades. Stating that "it (litigation) must come to an end", the tribunal has requested the High Court to transfer the case to one of the special courts.
Mirzapur Village
Demonstrating the modus operandi, the report states that "shamlat land/panchayat and other public land is being purchased in large chunks by various persons/corporations from the right holders who have illegally obtained their shares on the basis of the collusive and illegal court decree". Hitting out at the civil courts for ordering decrees, the tribunal has held that the civil courts were not competent to entertain such cases. The tribunal has highlighted an instance wherein "fraud" was committed by the revenue authorities in connivance with the villagers. "Thereafter the right holders started selling their shares indiscriminately to various persons. Some of the purchasers are: Late Lachhman Singh Kalka, former MLA, MP and his sons who purchased 157 acres 6 kanals".
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