The municipality on Thursday took possession of hundreds of acres of farmland allegedly encroached upon by a number of VVIPs, including singer Daler Mehndi, at Sohna, about 25km from Gurgaon.
Mehndi's 10-acre farmhouse was locked by Sohna municipal council (MC) authorities with help of the police. The action came on the directions of the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) in whose court the MC had filed a case under the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act in June 2011 when it had identified 1,900 acres of shamlat deh (village common land) handed to private parties illegally by revenue department officials. These buyers had further sold the land to bigwigs, including realty developers, at hefty rates.
In all, Mehndi owns about 112 acres in the area, and for the rest, too, the court has sent him a 15-day notice, according to Gurgaon deputy commissioner PC Meena, who confirmed that a drive was launched on Thursday to reclaim the public land. "I had got the mutation of about 1,900 acres shamlat deh in the area into the name of the Sohna MC in June 2011, and this exercise was simply to reclaim that land. My officers have told me that a 112-acre farm is owned by Daler Menhdi in Sohna, and 10 acres of it were restored to the MC."
Meena claimed that none of the farmhouse owners had moved a higher court against the SDM order.
On December 7, the district administration had also filed an FIR against two naib tehsildars who had fraudulently decided the titles of the land in the name of private parties in 1999-2000 without taking the panchayat, the MC and the forest department into confidence.
The private developers who built farmhouses and sold these to individuals have been claiming that they had purchased land from individual shareholders. In fact, the district administration has also stated the developers were not directly involved in the fraud.