The land acquisition officer (LAO) of Ambala has been suspended in connection with illegal mutation of 325-acre panchayat land in Chandimandir village here.
The suspended LAO, Captain Vinod Sharma, was the tehsildar of Panchkula district when the land, estimated to be worth Rs. 600 crore and close to the Panchkula-Shimla highway, was mutated in favour of the villagers on May 28, 2012. Many high-investment real-estate projects are coming up on areas neighbouring the mutated land.
Though the date of suspension could not be confirmed, Panchkula district revenue officer Naresh Kumar confirmed the development: “It was panchayati land. But he did the mutation in favour of villagers which was illegal. The naib tehsildar had objected to the mutation, but Sharma approved it.”
Chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who ordered the suspension, has asked the revenue and panchayat department to investigate the land mutation.
After the land was mutated in their name jointly, the villagers had approached the office of deputy commissioner (DC) for dividing the land amongst them. The DC, however, refused to do it and marked it to revenue department officials after which the scam came to light. The revenue department sifted through various documents and found that there was an attempt to cause loss to the state exchequer. A criminal case is likely to be registered in this regard.