The Haryana vigilance bureau has started an inquiry into the shamlat land scam in which Rs 60-crore extra compensation was paid for land acquisition at Chowki village of Panchkula district.
Director general, state vigilance bureau, Haryana, Parminder Rai, confirming the development. “We have marked the case to the Ambala branch.”
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s office had referred the case for investigation.
Hindustan Times had highlighted the scam on February 9 this year. On November 17, the newspaper reported that the chief minister, as chairman of Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), had recommended suspension of land acquisition officer MS Sangwan, naib tehsildar Dhoop Singh, and section officer Kamal Nayan, besides termination of patwari Jaina Ram.
Later, Nayan told the CM that he was not involved in the scam and his role was ordered to be reinvestigated.
Panchkula’s former HUDA administrator Sanjiv Verma had got the scam unearthed. He had recommended registrating of an FIR or inquiry through the vigilance bureau and taking disciplinary action.
The inquiry committee, formed by Verma in November 2015, had pointed out lapse on the part of Sangwan, Dhoop Singh, Jaina Ram and Nayan, and had held them responsible for the scam.
Land measuring 274.96-acre, falling in Chowki, Bir Ghaggar and Nada villages, was notified under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, in 1998 for setting up Sector 32 in Panchkula. An award was announced on July 30, 2003, for area measuring 224.28 acre, which included the land at Chowki village.
There was an inter-se dispute between the co-sharers of two-and-a-half shares in shamlat land, measuring 541 bighas and 17 biswas. A lower court in January 2014 then settled the dispute over division and enhanced the land compensation. But the inquiry report pointed out that the then land acquisition officer estimated their shares in the total shamlat land instead of just 541 bighas and 17 biswas.
THE INQUIRY REPORT
According to the inquiry report, there were seven parties who had a profit of Rs 60 crore as they were to be paid Rs 64.05 crore of the government money, but were given Rs 124.12 crore.
“The land owners have been paid enhanced compensation of Rs 60 crore for the area that is still in their possession and is yet to be acquired by the government by concealing the facts by the concerned officials of the land acquisition office in Panchkula ,” said the report.
It added, “It is concluded that the move is fraudulent with loss on the state exchequer. A huge sum was paid excess to the landowners and now it is to be recovered, along with the interest, and strict action is required to be taken in this regard.”