Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan's much-hyped letter declaring his wish to "donate" back to the gram-sabha (village council) land allotted to him as a "farmer" reached the Uttar Pradesh chief minister's office on Friday afternoon.
Dated July 19, the letter was delivered by a special messenger.
Brief and crisp, the typed letter begins with a hand-written remark - "without prejudice".
It expresses his decision to "relinquish claim" and to "donate" the three plots of agricultural land allotted in his name in Daulatpur village in Barabanki district, about 40 kms from Lucknow, to the gram sabha. On Thursday, a report had said that the actor wanted to surrender the land.
The 2.5 bigha (about 70,000 sq ft) land belonging to the village council was entered in his name in gross violation of laws of the state.
Evidently, Bachchan's idea behind the allotment was to safeguard the purchase of a huge 6-hectare farm in Pune district of Maharashtra, where land revenue laws do not permit ownership of agricultural property by anyone other than a "farmer". An obliging Uttar Pradesh administration, under Mulayam Singh Yadav, had issued him a certificate confirming his status as a "farmer".
Bachchan has drawn flak for having allegedly used his proximity with the former chief minister and Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh to get the government-owned land transferred in his name through "fraudulent" means.
He is facing legal scrutiny for alleged forgery carried out in the official land records of Barabanki to insure the "undue" favour to him.
While the Faizabad divisional commissioner had held the allotment as "forged", Bachchan had managed to get that order stayed by the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court on the plea that he had not been given an opportunity to be heard.