The Sirmour district collector-cum-deputy commissioner has passed an order to transfer 105.17-bigha benami land, disputed under 15 cases, to the state government.
In December 2013, an inquiry conducted by the Rajgarh sub-divisional magistrate had showed that pieces of land were purchased from locals in remote areas of the Rajgarh sub-division between 2005 and 2011 by submitting fake agriculturist certificates to get the sale deeds executed. The SDM had ruled it “a clear case of cheating and forgery”. The procurement of fake agriculturalist certificates was established by a police probe, while handwriting samples were sent to forensic a laboratory.
Following the inquiry, a trial was started for the violation of Section 118 under the Himachal Pradesh Tenancy and Land Reforms Act, 1972, on December 10, 2013.
The trial went on in 18 cases of benami land deals in the Baru Sahib area of the Rajgarh sub-division, and was completed within a record three months.
Sources said most of the land owners did not contest the trial, so the cases were proved easily, while owners are contesting four cases.
On December 13, 2013, Sarhan police had registered a criminal case against people involved in the benami deals, hailing from various places, including Kasauli, Junga, Poanta Sahib, SAS Nagar and Panchkula. The case was registered under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the Indian Penal Code.
In January this year, the office of DC Vikas Labroo issued notices under the Land Reforms Act to the “land owners” who had bought the land by using fake certificates.
Labroo said that 105.17 bigha lands were transferred to the government. In 14 cases, 100.17 bighas in Rajgarh have been transferred, while 5 bighas in Sangrah sub-division have been proved benami.
He added that the procurement of fake agriculturist certificates for land purchase was being investigated separately by the Sarhan police.