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Ghaziabad officials made Rs 20 crore in land acquisition: UP govt’s probe report

Ghaziabad ADM’s son allegedly invested Rs 1.78 crore in buying farmers’ land and sold the same land to NHAI for Rs 9.36 crore, making a profit of Rs 7.85 crore

noida Updated: Oct 05, 2017 10:17 IST
Vinod Rajput
Vinod Rajput
Hindustan Times
Corruption,Delhi-Meerut Expressway,Eastern Peripheral Expressway
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway project.(HT File)

Meerut divisional commissioner Dr Prabhat Kumar, probing the land acquisition for Delhi-Meerut Expressway and Eastern Peripheral Expressway, said officials violated norms and earned around Rs 20 crore through purchasing agricultural land from farmers in the name of their relatives and friends to make money.

Then Ghaziabad additional district magistrate Ghanshyam Singh had allegedly purchased farmers’ land in the name of his son Shivang Rathor on September 30, 2013 at a rate of Rs 1,582.18 per square metre in Nahal village. Later, Ghaziabad district magistrate Vimal Kumar Sharma had increased the rate of the same land to Rs 5,577 per square metre in arbitration.

Read | Ghaziabad: Probe ordered into land purchase under Delhi-Meerut Expressway project

The ADM helped his son to buy seven khasra number land in village Nahal and Kushaliya in the same month.

“Since the National Highways Authority of India had notified the farmers’ land for different expressway projects, the administration should not have allowed sale-purchase. But the ADM and the Amin (official in the revenue department who keeps land record) formed a nexus with the kin and friends thereby violating norms to make easy money,” said Kumar.

According to the probe report, ADM’s son invested Rs1.78 crore in buying farmers’ land and sold the same land to NHAI for Rs 9.36 crore. He made a profit of Rs 7.58 crore. Santosh Kumar, Amin, posted in Ghaziabad, through his wife Lokesh Beniwal invested Rs 3.54 crore and sold the same land for Rs 14.91 crore thereby making a profit of Rs 11.37 crore in a matter of few months, the report said. Idris, a friend of the ADM, made a profit of Rs 2.18 crore by investing Rs 2.56 crore.

Similarly, in few other cases, Nidhi Kesarwani, who later became district magistrate Ghaziabad, increased the compensation rate in arbitration, said the report.

However, Vimal Kumar Sharma, who is now special secretary in the national integration department in Lucknow said,“I didn’t increase land compensation rate. It was the committee that hiked the rate. After the NHAI notification, land shouldn’t have been purchased. But there was a committee constituted to probe into it. Before the report came I was transferred from Ghaziabad.”

On February 6, 2017, then Ghaziabad district magistrate Nidhi Kesarwani in village Rasulpur Sikhrod increased land compensation from Rs 1,235.18 to Rs 6,500 per square metre in arbitration for land of Idris and others.

The commissioner on September 14 started his investigation into the alleged irregularities in land acquisition for the 74-kilometre long Meerut-Delhi Expressway and Eastern Peripheral Expressway, following a communication from chairman of the state board of revenue and additional chief secretary, Uttar Pradesh. The commissioner on Wednesday sent his 15-page probe report to UP chief secretary for further action against the officials involved in the alleged scam.

Earlier, the commissioner had directed Ghaziabad administration to conduct the probe but they did not carry out the probe properly. Therefore, he himself conducted the probe in 20 days and sent the same to the state government.

Read | Delhi-Meerut expressway: Over 450 plot sale deeds in Ghaziabad under scanner

In December 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone of the Meerut-Delhi Expressway project. The Ghaziabad administration also wanted to complete Eastern Peripheral Expressway stretch as soon as possible with an aim to reduce air pollution. Officials cashed in on this urgency of land acquisition and purchased farmers’ land in the name of their relatives and friends at cheaper rates in order to sell the same at higher price.

“There were 458 sale deeds executed for land acquisition of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway and Eastern Peripheral Expressway projects. These were all done as per law. My son Shivang Rathor or others as an individual are free to buy or sell any property. I have committed no wrong and all allegations in the report are baseless,” said Ghanshyam Singh, who is currently working as ADM (finance) in Gautam Budh Nagar.

In 2013, many farmers had filed complaints before the district administration and state government. But their complaints were not investigated properly, said officials.

First Published: Oct 04, 2017 22:32 IST