Priyanka land deal case: State info panel asks Shimla admin to reply
Himachal Pradesh state information commission on Thursday asked the Shimla district administration to file reply regarding delay in giving information about the land purchased by Priyanka Gandhi, under the RTI Act.
However, on June 29, the state information commission had directed that details of the land bought by Priyanka Gandhi near Shimla must be revealed within 10 days, which was later stayed by the high court after Priyanka Gandhi had filed a petition.
Listing the case for August 20 for next hearing, the commission said the district administration should file reply on three points, including why the third party was not decided within the stipulated time. The commission also asked the deputy commissioner that how the person having the general power of attorney (GPA) stated before the district administration that he had no special power of attorney (SPA).
Dev Ashish Bhattacharya, the petitioner, alleged that the district administration decided to give information within 10 days, but did not implement the order.
Priyanka Gandhi, daughter of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, had in 2007 bought around one-acre plot of land at Charabra, around 14 km from Shimla, for constructing a residence for her family. However, the Rs 47 lakh deal ran into a controversy, following allegations that the then state government had relaxed laws to facilitate the transfer of the land to Priyanka. The value of the plot is said to be several crores of rupees now.
The double bench, comprising state chief information commissioner Bhim Sen and information commissioner Kali Das Batish, asked the additional district magistrate (ADM), Shimla to appear before the court with complete case file related to Priyanka Gandhi land purchase case. Shimla deputy commissioner, Shimla ADM and tehsildar (rural), Shimla appeared in the court filing respective reply, while the petitioner pleaded to impose the penalty on the officials who failed to give information within the stipulated time.
The state information commission also directed the deputy commissioner, Shimla to file reply regarding a fact that a chunk of land which was sanctioned to Priyanka Gandhi was not registered till initial 180 days and given an extension of two years.