IAS officer allowed illegal exchange, Haryana tells HC
In an ongoing case in the Punjab and Haryana high court, the Haryana government has accepted that then Haryana director, consolidation, Subhash Chandra Goel had in January 2008 allowed the exchange of around 200 kanals of prime panchayat land ("shamlat deh") at Sehsola village in Mewat district worth crores of rupees with land owned by his alleged niece, Medha, against the rules and beyond his jurisdiction.chandigarh Updated: Sep 18, 2012 12:46 IST
In an ongoing case in the Punjab and Haryana high court, the Haryana government has accepted that then Haryana director, consolidation, Subhash Chandra Goel had in January 2008 allowed the exchange of around 200 kanals of prime panchayat land ("shamlat deh") at Sehsola village in Mewat district worth crores of rupees with land owned by his alleged niece, Medha, against the rules and beyond his jurisdiction.
Goel is at present the special secretary in the irrigation department, Haryana.
Goel, along with another senior Haryana-cadre IAS officer, Anil Kumar, now UT Chandigarh's home secretary, had invited the wrath of the high court on September 6 in a similar case, when the court quashed around 20 such orders passed by them for exchange of prime panchayat land of seven villages in Gurgaon district with the land of developers between 2008 and 2009.
In a written statement, Haryana director general, consolidation of holdings, Ashok Khemka has submitted that Medha was not entitled to any relief under the consolidation scheme, which Goel had allowed.
The officer has stated that as per the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1961, only an "inhabitant of a village" can be allowed benefit under the Act, whereas Medha is a resident of "W-6/23, DLF, Phase 3, Gurgaon" and not a resident of Sehsola village. It was added that the limitation of filing an application under Section 42 of the Consolidation Act is six months of the date of the order against which it is filed. "The beneficiary (Medha) had purchased land in the village vide six different registered sale deeds, of which five are dated February 24, 2006. This was almost 45 years after the process of consolidation was completed in 1962-63 and hence the petitioner was not entitled…"
As per rules, the transfer of panchayat land is permissible with the resolution of the gram panchayat, the determination of its value by the deputy commissioner and the approval of the state government. "The prescribed criteria for the exchange of panchayat land is not met out in the instant case," reads the statement.
Earlier, the single judge of the high court had quashed the orders dated November 10, 2008, passed by Goel, but later Medha had approached the division bench, challenging the single judge's judgment.
Justice Ajai Lamba, in his judgment dated April 21, 2011, had observed, "Respondent No. 2 (SC Goel), therefore, enabled the fraud to be played on the gram panchayat, resulting in the gram panchayat losing its land." The single judge had also said, "the facts and circumstances emanating from the record clearly indicate, even commission of criminal offences, including that of fraud. The deputy commissioner, Mewat, is directed to enable initiation of criminal proceedings."
The petitioners had informed the single judge that Medha had excavated a huge quantity of earth from the land, owned by her prior to the exchange, and had sold the same to a private company for Rs 31 lakh.
The case would come up for hearing in the high court later this week.