UP moves SC over Bachchan land scam
Uttar Pradesh on Monday moved the Supreme Court in a case pertaining to alleged fraudulent allotment of government land to Amitabh Bachchan in Barabanki district, challenging the reprieve granted to the actor by the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court.
"A Special Leave Petition (SLP) has been filed before the Supreme Court, challenging the high court order on Monday morning," said Devendra Upadhaya, Uttar Pradesh's chief standing counsel.
The appeal has sought to draw the Supreme Court's attention towards the dichotomy in the high court order.
"Even as the high court agrees that certain irregularities were committed in the allotment of government land to Bachchan during the Mulayam Singh Yadav regime, it was of the view that Bachchan could not have been himself involved in those irregularities," Upadhaya pointed out.
"What was strange was that the high court order also didn't appreciate the fact that none other than Bachchan was the ultimate beneficiary of the irregularity committed in official records," he said.
Bachchan was charged with committing 'forgery' and 'fraud' in getting his name entered in the official revenue records as the legitimate allottee of some 2.75 bighas of land (about 70,000 sq ft) in Daulatpur village of Barabanki district, about 40 km from Lucknow.
While the entry in the land records of Daulatpur was shown to have been made way back in 1983, state revenue officials had found it to have been forged later when Mulayam Singh was in power.
The present government believes that the forgery was committed essentially to arm Bachchan with a testimonial certifying that he was owner of some agricultural land and thereby qualified as a 'farmer' - a status required by him to retain his hold over a six-hectare farm with a farmhouse in Pune.
Maharastra land laws do not permit anyone other than a 'farmer' to own agricultural land in that state.
Absolving Bachchan of the criminal charges, the Allahabad High Court in December ruled that since the filmstar had relinquished his claim over the land, all criminal proceedings against him be dropped.
However, the court had agreed that the fraudulently made entries in the land records be corrected and the land be restored to the gram sabha (village executive), which originally owned the property.