Haryana IAS officer Ashok Khemka's order canceling the mutation of Shikohpur land sold by Congress president Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra to realty giant DLF Universal created quite a furore in the Congress-ruled state.
But an important set of instructions issued by Khemka as director general, consolidation of land holdings-cum-inspector general of registration, seems to have been submerged in cacophony over cancellation of registration of the controversial land deal.
The 1991-batch IAS officer had, on October 10, hours before he was shifted from the department, framed the Haryana Registration Rules, 2012, making the Aadhaar number for individuals and corporate identity number (CIN) for firms mandatory for registration of all documents, including land registration. Aadhaar numbers are issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), while CIN is issued by the ministry of corporate affairs.
These provisions, aimed at bringing transparency in land transactions, will come into force from October 1, 2013, as per the order. Hindustan Times had, on October 13, reported details of the Haryana Registration Rules, 2012, which are likely to go a long way in checking 'benami' deals and unauthorised transfer of 'shamlat deh'(village common land) in the state.
While the new rules are being seen as potential game-changer in ensuring transparency in land deals, the state government is still to grant its approval and publish them in the official gazette even after two weeks. Besides circulating the rules to deputy commissioners, Khemka sent the rules to additional chief secretary (revenue) for approval and publication. Revenue department officials, however, are tight-lipped on the subject.
"The new rules, which prescribe mandatory procedural requirements for transfer of immovable property of gram panchayat or 'shamlat deh', can help check 'benami' and irregular land deals. There is a feeling that rules have been framed without clearance from the top and may open Pandora's Box," a senior IAS officer remarked.
The rules also provide that no transfer of immovable property of gram panchayat or 'shamlat deh' will be registered unless authorised by a resolution of the panchayat and approved by the department of development and panchayats. Similarly, no transfer of possessory rights on such land will be registered unless authorised by a resolution of the gram panchayat and approved by the registrar.
The rules have been framed by the inspector general of registration in exercise of powers vested under Section 69(1) of the Registration Act, 1908.
Khemka was seemingly transferred from the department on October 11 after the state authorities found out that he was looking into Vadra's land deals with DLF. While the government categorically denied that the transfer order had anything to do with Khemka's mutation order, the officer had protested strongly against his abrupt transfer from the department after a brief stint to a "post not befitting his seniority".