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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

Panel unable to find way to take over assets

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, September 09, 2013
First Published: 10:13 IST(9/9/2013) | Last Updated: 10:15 IST(9/9/2013)

While examining the alleged irregularities committed by the trusts/societies of family members of former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala, a Haryana Vidhan Sabha committee expressed its inability to suggest a way to the state government to take over the assets of the trusts/societies.

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The committee which was constituted by the assembly speaker in August 2011 to look into the recommendations made in a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) report. The report that pertained to an ongoing case of disproportionate assets against the Chautala family had recommended that the Haryana government may take appropriate action against these trusts/societies in view of violations of conditions.

The committee was also mandated to make specific recommendations regarding the manner and methodology of taking over of these trusts/societies by the government to ensure that objects of the trusts/societies are met with effectively, as recommended by the CBI.

NO PROVISION TO TAKE OVER PROPERTIES

In its eight-part report, the committee said that though several land allotments and gifting of panchayat land to the trusts/ societies were done in an illegal manner, it could not suggest a mode to the government to take over these properties.

"How to take over the properties? There is no direct provision in the Societies Act or Indian Trust Act as to how the government can take over the properties of these trusts," the committee report read.

The report, however, said that in the larger interest of the state in a democratic set-up, the government was under obligation to see as to whether societies/trusts had acquired properties in a legal or valid manner.

"From where the funds have been acquired, method for acquisition is valid and legal or the funds have been generated by circumventing the provisions of law.  Donations have been shown without genuine donors and contributors. All these trusts must have been registered under the Income Tax Act. The question is as to whether it was bona fide and correct to grant an exemption certificate under Section 80 G of the Income Tax Act? Whether undisclosed money has been invested in these trusts and societies?" the committee said while raising questions.

It further said that the state was always to act as a custodian of the interests of people at large. "The basic fundamental of the democracy is rule of law. When we ignore and disobey rule of law, the foundation of the democracy is certainly weakened. It is pertinent to mention that as per all reports submitted therein, there are glaring and open violations of the rule of law. Strong duties are cast upon on people who are in public life and enjoy political status. All stated above has been done under the shadow of political big-wigs," it said

ACTION AGAINST TRUSTS AND SOCIETIES SOUGHT

The committee said the Haryana government should make a request to the Centre, Delhi government and Chandigarh administration to initiate an inquiry to take action against these trusts and societies in accordance with the law. The matter may be investigated by the income tax authorities as well as by the directorate of revenue intelligence.

There are flagrant violations with the transfer/allotment of properties within Haryana. There are also projects/institutions being run by the trusts/societies  which are situated in the state. The state government is also advised to take cognizance of all matters and may take appropriate action accordingly and suggested action may be taken in accordance with the law, the committee concluded.

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