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SIT to probe dera land allotment scam; 4 HCS officers in dock

A special investigation team (SIT) of the Karnal police will probe the alleged illegal allotment of land worth crores of rupees at Nigdhu and Pastana villages of the district.

punjab Updated: Dec 09, 2014 21:58 IST
Vishal Joshi
Vishal Joshi
Hindustan Times

A special investigation team (SIT) of the Karnal police will probe the alleged illegal allotment of land worth crores of rupees at Nigdhu and Pastana villages of the district.

At least four Haryana Civil Service (HCS) officials, six others from the state revenue department and individuals close to an Indian national Lok Dal (INLD) leader are allegedly involved in the alleged scam.

The case pertains to the allotment of surplus land of a dera to alleged ineligible beneficiaries at Nigdhu and Pastana villages of the district since 1984.

Girish Arora, who is presently posted as additional deputy commissioner, Karnal, and other HCS officers - ID Kaushik, RP Bhardwaj and Kuldhir Singh, who remained sub-divisional magistrates (SDMs) in Karnal in 1986 onwards when land of a religious dera was distributed, are allegedly involved in the racket.

Nishan Singh, Surjjan Singh, Jai Singh and Om Prakash (all kanungos) and patwari Ramanand allegedly got the land allotted to land mafia supported by politicians.

Superintendent of police Abhishek Garg told Hindustan Times on Tuesday that deputy superintendent of police, Indri, Baljinder Singh would lead the investigation.

"In my status report submitted to the Punjab and Haryana high court on November 3, names of 10 officials were listed as accused. They were named on the basis of allegations made by the complainant and findings of the chief minister's flying squad, which had investigated the matter earlier. A SIT would now look into revenue records and more names are expected to be crop up during the investigation," said Garg.

However, the SP clarified that it would be premature to say at this stage of investigation that all officials named as the conspirators by the complainant were key accused in the case.

The police are yet to get any clinching documentary evidence against those named in the case and the SIT would look the case from all possible angles.

What complainant alleged

Complainant Mahant Mahadev Giri had alleged that according to the revenue department rules, surplus land of the dera could only be allotted to villagers from reserved category.

He had also alleged that the officials got fake ration cards issued to the politically-influential persons who were ineligible to take possession of land.

According to the status report filed in the high court, of the 518 acres of land allotted a major portion was allotted by illegal methods.

The Dera Baba Bhagwan Das Gir had 767-acre land in its name and 533-acre land was declared surplus in 1963, which was meant to be distributed among the landless and people from the Scheduled Castes.

The dera was allotted 39 acres of the total land, which stood in its name.

After the alleged large-scale bugling where surplus land was allotted to several affluent persons with sound political background, the mahant had approached the then chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda with a complaint in May 2006.

A deputy inspector general rank officer in then CM's flying squad had probed the matter and the complaint approached the Punjab and Haryana high court in 2008 to execute the police findings.

Consequently, the Samadhi Baba Bhagwan Giri Charitable Trust filed a complaint with the director general of police in April this year and a criminal case was registered at Butana police station under Sections 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery of will), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using a forged document as genuine) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) against those got the land "illegally".

No official was named in the FIR lodged by the complainant this year. The case would come up for hearing in the court of Rajan Gupta on January 12.

Will cooperate in probe: Karnal ADC

The district police have arrested Amrit Pal, Radhey Sham and Vijay Pal, all close relatives of a senior INLD leader in connection with alleged illegal allotment of surplus dera land. Raja Kiran, Kailash and Ramesh Rani from Kurukshetra have secured anticipatory bail and several others are reported to be absconding in the case.

Karnal SP Abhishek Garg said the role of all accused was being probed thoroughly and further arrests would be made on the basis of their role and material evidence.

While other accused could not be contacted, Karnal ADC Girish Arora said he would fully cooperate in the police investigation.

Refusing to comment further, Arora said he had not committed any wrongdoing and a police probe would clear the picture.

First Published: Dec 09, 2014 21:56 IST