Gurgaon villagers move court for return of land

August 2nd, 2011 - 10:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi Gurgaon, Aug 2 (IANS) A group of villagers in Haryana’s Gurgaon Tuesday alleged they were threatened by district officials in 2009 to lease their land to the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust and a doctor and have now moved the high court to get the land back. Officials concerned denied making any threats.

Residents of Ullawas village said a total of 49 canals (approx 6 acres) of their land has been given to the trust and a doctor close to Gandhi family. The trust was suppose to set up an eye hospital and research centre here.

“We were threaten to face dire consequences in case we refused to sign,” said a resident

Villagers, led by ex-panchayat members Dharamveer, Surender Parkash, Hari Chand and Numberdar Sher Singh have filed a petition in Punjab and Haryana High Court to get back their panchayati land.

“We were under lots of pressure from local administration, the then deputy commissioner Rajender Kataria called all the panchayat members in his office and forced us to sign the lease papers,” said Surender Parkash. The lease is for 33 years.

He said some panchayat members were not ready to sign the lease papers and one of them was threatened by the block development officer (BDO)in the presence of Kataria.

“We were asked to sign the papers or face the suspension of complete panchayat with litigations,” Parkash recalled.

However, Kataria has denied the allegations. “I don’t remember any such incident,” he said.

The present village headman Azad Singh said: “We have a petition in Punjab and Haryana High Court to get our land back. We are getting Rs.15 lakh per annum against the lease and that is not sufficient, our land costs more than Rs. 50 crore.”

During the hearing of petition, it was revealed that the state government had released the land in the favour of the Rajiv Gandhi Trust in which United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi, and her children Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka are trustees.

The Haryana government is facing charges of pick and choose policy in acquiring land in Gurgaon, according to a bunch of petitions filed by landowners in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

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