Gurugram district officials influencing land grab probes, allege activists

The claim was denied by the deputy commissioner’s office, which held that no influence has been exerted on any inquiry officer in any manner.
RTI activists, under the banner of Aadhikar, held a press meeting on Wednesday, stating the district administration was influencing inquiry in Sikanderpur panchayat land matter. (Yogesh Kumar/HT Photo)
RTI activists, under the banner of Aadhikar, held a press meeting on Wednesday, stating the district administration was influencing inquiry in Sikanderpur panchayat land matter. (Yogesh Kumar/HT Photo)
Updated on Sep 06, 2018 05:40 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Gurugram

The district administration is influencing probe into land misappropriation and encroachment cases, alleged a group of social rights and Right to Information (RTI) activists on Wednesday.

The group, under the banner of Aadhikar, a front of RTI activists and whistle blowers, said the district administration had influenced the probe into misappropriation of 3,000 square yards of panchayat land at Sikanderpur, where a petrol pump is operating, after which the inquiry officer gave a clean chit in the matter. Similarly, the probe into encroachment at Chauma by gaushala (cow shelter) owners is also being scuttled to benefit the encroachers, the activists alleged in a press conference held here.

The allegation has been refuted by the deputy commissioner’s office. “No influence has been exerted on enquiry officer to make report in the manner. Enquiry officer was at liberty to enquire fairly and report to senior officers if he felt any pressure in doing the same. As a matter of transparency, report of enquiry was sent to the complainant to appeal if he was not satisfied with it. If the complainant appeals to a higher authority, they may get the matter re-enquired,” Gurugram deputy commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh said.

DLF Phase 1 resident Harinder Dhingra, who had complained to the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) about illegal sale of Sikanderpur land on June 7, said the inquiry officer, zila parishad deputy CEO Rishi Dangi, had come to his residence a few days before submitting the inquiry report on August 8.

“Dangi asked me to not pursue the case and give him 15 days so he could get himself transferred from the post and thus, recuse himself from the matter. Dangi said he was under pressure from the district administration to give a report in favour of the petrol pump owner. I have a video recording of the whole conversation, which I will send to the Chief Minister’s Office. If no action is initiated, I will approached the Supreme Court next month as land sale is in violation of a court ruling,” Dhingra told the gathering.

During the event, Dhingra showed a video recording in which Dangi along with one other person was conversing about the case.

“We will get the recording tested and certified from a lab and send it to the CMO and later submit in before the SC. I have faced pressure and allurements from several corners to drop the matter,” Dhingra said.

The Sikanderpur panchayat had leased out land to Janta filling station in December 1999 for 20 years.

According to the report submitted by Dangi to the deputy commissioner’s office on August 8 (a copy of which is with the Hindustan Times), states that the Haryana government had, in 2001, objected to setting up of a petrol pump on panchayat land saying there was no provision in rules and served a notice to the pump owners on March 2001.

After the report appeared before the authorities, the petrol pump owners appealed that since much cost had been incurred on setting up the fuel station “it would be injustice to close it down” and “some middle way should be sorted out so that the petrol pump runs as it is”. Following this appeal, the district administration cleared a proposal of selling the land on December 9, 2002, and the said land was sold for 90 lakh to the petrol pump owners on June 17, 2003.

“What is ‘a middle way’? If the petrol pump was set up in violation of norms, the lease should have been scrapped. Instead, the land was sold. The authorities are in connivance with violators,” Dhingra said.

Dangi refused to comment on the matter.

Referring to encroachment on the 7.5 acre government land in Chauma, where the accused constructed a cowshed, houses, and a park, RTI activist Ramesh Yadav said the administration has adopted lackadaisical attitude in the matter. “An inquiry was ordered in March by the Chief Minister, but the district administration is scuttling the inquiry,” he said.

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