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Rivals behind farmers’ petition: RPL

delhi Updated: Jan 19, 2010 00:08 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Anil Ambani-led Reliance Power Ltd (RPL) on Monday alleged in the Supreme Court that their corporate rivals were behind the petitions filed by farmers against acquisition of land in Uttar Pradesh.

The company has acquired land for its proposed 8,000 MW Dadri power project in the state.

Terming the petitions “motivated”, RPL’s counsel Mukul Rohtagi told a bench headed by Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan: “This was a case of corporate rivalry. The rivalry seen in the gas dispute here.”

The power company has challenged an Allahabad High Court order quashing Uttar Pradesh government's notification to acquire land for the project.

The court fixed January 29 for hearing after the affected farmers' counsel pointed out that a caveat had already been filed in the matter and therefore, the court was bound to hear them before passing any orders.

The state government had acquired about 2,500-acre land for the project in 2004, when the Samajwadi Party was in power. However, on petitions filed by the farmers, the HC quashed the land acquisition notification.

Rohtagi alleged that at the behest of the group’s corporate rivals, the farmers filed petitions in the court. The apex court has already reserved its verdict on the gas dispute between the Ambani brothers.

RPL questioned the High Court's verdict on the grounds that it entertained the farmers' petition four years after land was allocated and many farmers had already withdrawn the compensation amount.

RPL said around 5,827 farmers had consented for the acquisition of land by the Uttar Pradesh government.

Out of over 5,000 farmers, only 432 filed the petition in the HC so the benefit of the court order will only go to them, the RPL counsel said.

The HC had said the state government had side stepped a provision inviting objections from landowners while coming out with the notification for using emergency powers to acquire land for the company.

RPL had contended the HC shouldn’t have entertained the petitions on grounds of delay in filing them. It said that the company had complied with the provisions of the Land Acquisition law and the project was in public interest.