The Uttar Pradesh government has registered a case against 27 people, including five revenue department officers, for fraudulently procuring land compensation in excess of the value of their agriculture land that was acquired for building the Agra-Lucknow Expressway.
Acting on the complaint filed during the previous Akhilesh Yadav regime, an FIR was lodged at Shikohabad police station under Firozabad district on Sunday. Firozabad is the parliamentary constituency of Akshay Yadav, son of the national general secretary of Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav.
The case relates to land in and around Bachhela Bachheli village in Sirsaganj tehsil of Firozabad. The Agra-Lucknow expressway crosses through this village and the land for the project was acquired on December 30, 2013.
The land owners changed the land use from agriculture to residential on record allegedly with the connivance of revenue and consolidation officials at tehsil level.
“The FIR has been lodged against 22 land owners found involved in the bungling and 5 chakbandi (revenue) officers have been named in the FIR filed by officials of the UP Expressway Development Industrial Authority (UPEDA),” district magistrate Neha Sharma told Hindustan Times.
Sharma added that recovery certificates (RC) are to be issued to realise the extra payment made.
“The FIR was lodged against these 27 (people) for alleged criminal conspiracy. Of these, 11 landowners have received excess money in 2015 while payment is yet to be made to the remaining 11 land owners. Five officials from chakbandi department are named for manipulation in land revenue records,” she said.
“I simply initiated proceedings in the case, whose suo motu cognizance taken by my predecessor in 2016,” she added.
She did not rule out the possibility of the involvement of other officials in the racket.
“Land records now stand rectified after manipulations made in collusion with staff from revenue department and firm action would follow against those guilty,” the DM said.
She added that though the land acquired was in Sirsaganj tehsil, sale deeds by these 22 owners were executed in Shikohabad thus the FIR was lodged at Shikohabad police station.
Som Pal Singh, in charge of Shikohabad police station, confirmed a case with regard to the bungling of money was registered on Sunday night. He said action will follow after due investigation.
The Agra-Lucknow Expressway was an ambitious project of former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and was inaugurated during the SP regime after being completed in record time.
The 3,000 hectares of land in 232 villages on the route that spans 10 districts was acquired without even a whimper of protest because of two reasons - the quantum of land compensation that was four-fold the market rate and the fact that entire route was a Yadav family pocket borough.
The 302-kilometre expressway that opened last December provides a seamless journey and has transformed the villages it slices through and the lives of thousands of people whose livelihoods depend on the road.