The Punjab government has decided to get a vigilance bureau probe into the possession of around 21.26 acres of 'shamlat deh' (government land) by Jagan Tubes Limited (JTL) Educational Foundation allegedly at throwaway prices from gram panchayat Sanauli in Dera Bassi tehsil of SAS Nagar.
Mithan Lal Singla, brother-in-law of former railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, is one of the trustees of the JTL trust.
The state government informed the Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday that the probe would also focus on knowing whether the land was leased to the trust for 33 years or for 99 years.
On this, the division bench headed by chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul admitted the case for hearing with regular cases in October with directions to the state government to file the status report within a month.
The court also directed that the stay on further construction at the site would continue till the next date of hearing.
The high court, while hearing a public interest litigation filed by Harshinder Singh of SAS Nagar had on August 27 last year stayed further construction.
The petitioner had challenged the resolution passed by gram panchayat Sanauli on July 6, 2010 of handing over the land to the Foundation on lease for 33 years. Later, it had come to light that the land was leased for 99 years.
The petitioner had also submitted that the land was transferred to the Foundation at the rate of Rs 30,000 per acre lease money payable annually. However, the market price of the land was between Rs 1.5 crore and Rs 5 crore. It was also submitted that the land was leased out to the
Foundation without putting it to auction carried out in pursuance of the open public offer by way of advertisements in the newspapers.
Also, the special tribunal headed by justice Kuldip Singh (retd) probing into the illegal possession of government land throughout Punjab, in its report submitted to the high court on July 15, had pointed out preferential treatment to the trust in land allotment. The tribunal had stated, "…it seems there is a deliberate attempt to create a forged document in the shape of the lease deed (for 99 years), which is in the register of the sub-registrar."