The Haryana Urban Development Authority’s (HUDA) land acquisition office (LAO) in Panchkula, which acquires land for the authority, has been rocked with the allegations of three scams running into crore of rupees over the past few months. In yet another shocking revelations, HT has learnt that `3.58 crore were given as land relief — in gross violations of Village Common Land Act, 1961, — for two people who were just general power of attorney (GPA) holders of the land measuring 10 bigha and 10 biswa in Toran village.
This follows two days after HT had reported that without the approval of the then collector — mandatory under Village Common Land Act, 1961, — a total of seven parties received double the compensation — a loss of over `60 crore to the exchequer — for a shamlat land (common land) in Chowki village. In 2015 too, a scam of over `346 crore was unearthed at the office, in which the probe is going on.
“No shamlat land compensation can be given without the approval of the collector concerned under the Village Common Land Act. So, an action will be initiated against then LAO Vinod Kumar Sharma,” said director general, town and country planning and urban estates, Arun Kumar Gupta. The directions have been sent to HUDA administrator Sanjiv Verma for further action.
The land in Toran village was acquired for the periphery road approaching Sectors 2, 3, 4 and 5 of the Pinjore-Kalka urban complex, Panchkula. On May 28, 2015, Rs 3.58 crore was handed over to Prem Chand Bansal and Vivek Bansal, residents of Sector 9, as land compensation. But, surprisingly, they were not the actual sharers/co-sharers of the acquired land, and were the GPA holders for Chattar Singh, Kapoor Singh, Gopal Singh, Gurdial Singh, Ram Singh, Kamla Devi and Kaushalya Devi.
The inquiry committee, comprising superintendent Eeshan Kaushik, assistant district attorney Mukesh and chief accounts officer PK Sachdeva on November 16, 2011, ruled that as per available land records, they were not the actual owners. It also came out their identity was not verified and no affidavit regarding the ownerships were obtained from the actual owners.
“Vinod Kumar Sharma has admitted that Rs 3.58 crore has been paid inadvertently and that the notices has been issued to the GPA holders concerned to recover the money,” stated the report.
The report added an application had also been filed under Section 30 of the Land Acquisition Act (when there is dispute in apportionment), 1894, before the court.
The report pointed out that when the payment regarding another award of shamlat deh land (of the same Toran village) was deposited in the court, the case was also required to be referred to the competent authority for deciding the dispute of its title.
“The action of Sharma and his staff is totally wrong and unjustified. It was their responsibility to ensure that before making the payment, the land’s title was clear, and the entitlement was given as per the legality of the GPA,” added report.
Sharma in his reply had maintained that the compensation was released on the basis of certifications from officiating naib tehsildar Subhash Yadav, kannungo Devender Singh, patwari Rajender Kumar and section officer Kamal Nayan. There were several claims and payments to both Prem Bansal and Vivek Bansal, which were released in ordinary course, added Sharma.