The inquiry conducted by Kangra revenue officials has found violation of rules in the use of land - 4.68 hectares of the tea garden purchased by noted lawyer Prashant Bhushan.
The state government has now speeded up proceedings against Bhushan's Kumud Bhushan Educational Society, named after his mother that was allowed by the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government to purchase land meant for tea plantation.
Revenue sources said the inquiry found a number of discrepancies in the use norms of the land that was purchased for setting up a private educational institution. “Firstly the raised structures are not as per land use norms,” said a revenue official, who was part of the inquiry, adding that so far the educational society has constructed a rest house, an open-air theatre, cowshed and toilets.
He said even the constitution of the educational society has flaws. It mainly comprises family members of Bhushan.
The Kumud Bhushan Education Society had applied for land purchase at Kandwari, some 10 km from Palampur in Kangra district. Though the sale of the tea garden land is prohibited under law, it was being claimed that since no tea cultivation had been undertaken on this patch for the past many years, it did not attract violation of the rules.
The permission for purchasing the land was granted during the previous BJP regime for setting up of an educational institution. Though there is a ban on the purchase of land by outsiders in Himachal, it was in relaxation of Section 118 of the Tenancy and Land Reforms Act that permission was granted for the purchase of land, originally a tea estate.
The sale deed was registered by the educational society in March 3, 2010.
The essential certificate for the land purchase was given to the society by the state education department on the condition that it would get itself affiliated with any institution or university.
“The education society has not fulfilled the term yet,” said revenue officials, adding that the society also failed to complete the project within two years which is mandatory.
Meanwhile, Kangra deputy commissioner C Palrasu confirmed that the proceeding have been initiated in the case on the basis of a notice issued by the government to the educational society in February 2012 to repossess the land under Section 118 of the Land Reforms and Tenancy Act. “The hearing in the case has been fixed for December 9,” he added.
Meanwhile, revenue officials said the administration had submitted the probe report to the government and had sought clarification on further action. The government after taking legal opinion has asked the deputy commissioner to proceed further with the case.