Controversy over sale of Dhirendra Brahmachari’s ashram land in Haryana’s Gurugram
Twenty-four acres of prime land in Gurugram, owned by yoga guru Dhirendra Brahmachari’s Aparna Ashram Society, is at the centre of a controversy following the sale of the plot at throwaway price to three private companies.
A sale deed for 24 acres at Silokhra village in Gurugram was registered by the naib tehsildar of Wazirabad in December 2020 for a mere ₹55 crore.
UNDERVALUED SALE, SKIPPED E-REGISTRATION
The red flag was raised by Surya Prakash, the legal representative of the ashram, following which, an inquiry was ordered by the Haryana government.
During the inquiry, it was found that not only was the land sold by members of the society to three companies at a grossly undervalued price, but the sale deed was also executed manually by skipping the electronic appointment process.
The inquiry being conducted by the Gurugram divisional commissioner is also examining the implication of a 2016 order of a civil judge restraining the members of the society from interfering in the ownership and possession of the society.
Officials said that after the death of Dhirendra Brahmachari, a dispute broke out between members of the society and is continuing in different courts for the past two decades.
WILL CANCEL SALE DEED IF UNDERVALUED: DUSHYANT
State revenue minister Dushyant Chautala said that under the Indian Registration Act, the state government has the power to cancel the sale deed. “We will cancel the registration of the sale deed if there is an evasion of stamp duty due to under valuation of the property and execution of the sale agreement despite orders of the civil court,” Chautala said.
Top officials said that the district authorities have been asked to take prompt action and remedial measures.
“On the basis of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for reaching at an agreed price, it is beyond doubt that the agreed price of the land of Aparna Ashram was ₹12 crore per acre, which works out to be ₹288 crore for 24 acres. Hence, the sale deed of ₹55 crore is grossly undervalued,” said a communication sent by the revenue department to the Gurugram deputy commissioner.
FORMER DC’S ORDER CHALLENGED IN COURT
After the controversy broke out, the then Gurugram deputy commissioner set aside the registration deed after first allowing manual registration of the same.
The order of the deputy commissioner has been challenged by one of the private buyers of the ashram land in the Punjab and Haryana high court on grounds that the order lacked jurisdiction.
The case is listed for hearing on February 15.
Asked about the controversial order of his predecessor to set aside the registration deed and actions recommended by the state government, present deputy commissioner Yash Garg said that the DC being the registrar had passed the order to set aside the registration.
“We will follow the directions of the state government and the court,’’ Garg said.
Officials said there were more issues in the deed that needed scrutiny . “How was the sum of ₹55 crore arrived at for sale of a prime piece of land? Did the managing committee of the ashram pass a resolution in this regard?’’ an official said.
Officials are contemplating the ordering of attachment of the ashram land as there are multiple disputes.
FLYING SWAMI AND CONTROVERSIES
Brahmachari (1924-94) was a yoga guru to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. He was a known influencer in the decision-making process of the central government under Gandhi. He had opened yoga training institutes in Jammu and Delhi, benefitting from his proximity to the late PM in getting prime land.
Brahmachari was accused of smuggling an aircraft from the United States during the imposition of Emergency, without paying custom duty. He was also at the centre of a controversy for importing gun parts illegally from Spain for his arms factory.
Known as the Flying Swami, he died in a plane crash in 1994.