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HindustanTimes Wed,03 Sep 2014

Land grab: Punjab ex-DGP appears before revenue officials

Prabhjit Singh  Saini Majra (SAS Nagar), January 25, 2014
First Published: 10:46 IST(25/1/2014) | Last Updated: 21:02 IST(25/1/2014)

Order prevailed in this village on Friday to the surprise of those who had earlier been chased away by the armed men of former DGP Paramdeep Singh Gill during a tussle over the possession of 150-acre village common land.

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They stood upright, signing as witnesses, contradicting Gill's claim over the land in front of the revenue officials to explain that it commonly belonged to the village as 'nadi-choe' (non-cultivable wild) land.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2014/1/PSgilllandgrabcase_compressed.jpg

The poles and the fence erected around the land were lying uprooted, as Gill signed a statement holding claim over the land that was still in his possession.

The village panchayat and the DGP had received summons to appear for this inquiry on Friday, in implementation of a long-pending remand order of the Dera Bassi SDM-cum-subdivisional collector of the Majri block, instructing the Majri naib tehsildar to "re-decide the case after hearing to both the parties on the spot and keeping in view the nature of the land".

The Hindustan Times had reported on November 17, 2013, that the ex-DGP-turned Akali leader had fenced 150 acres of 'shamlat deh' land around a seasonal rivulet at Saini Majra near Kurali in SAS Nagar district, throwing the cancellation of the 'girdawari' (possession of land) in his name to the winds.

Objecting to the rough language of the ex-DGP, village sarpanch Avtar Singh on Friday gave his statement along with other villagers, in contradiction to those of Gill and that of a single 'panch', who was among over a dozen villagers to receive cash from Gill to facilitate him in getting his name entered in the 'girdawari' column of the land revenue record in January 2012, a month before he contested the state assembly election from Moga on the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal ticket.

BACKGROUND

In January 2012, Majri naib tehsildar Rupinder Manku had entered the 'girdawari' (possession of land for cultivation) in Gill's name in the revenue records. Manku was later suspended after the revelations last year.

Gill had also concealed the fact that the 'girdawari' in his name had been annulled by the Dera Bassi SDM in July last year, while moving the court for restraining the villagers from disturbing his possession of the land.

The SDM's court, however, recently vacated the stay on the villagers' rights.

On Friday, Manku's successor Vivek Nirmohi held the hearing in the presence of the villagers where the ex-DGP had reached on receiving the remand summons.

In September 2013, the rural development and panchayat department had also lodged a complaint with the Mohali deputy commissioner that the land was illegally occupied in violation of not only the Punjab Village Common Land Act but also the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA). The entire 150 acres of the fenced pastures fall under the PLPA, which cannot be cultivated.

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