Priyanka Vadra’s land deal figures in Himachal house

August 23rd, 2010 - 9:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi Shimla, Aug 23 (IANS) Two years after a land deal allegedly in the name of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka Vadra rocked the Himachal Pradesh assembly, a ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Monday raised the issue without naming anyone.
Raising the issue during question hour, legislator Tejwant Singh Negi asked Revenue Minister Gulab Singh Thakur how non-residents of Himachal Pradesh were allowed to purchase land in the state during the Congress tenure from 2003-07.

He alleged that the previous government granted permission to a high-profile person to purchase land in Mashobra (near Shimla).

Intervening during the debate, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said the previous government had granted permission to 2,068 non-residents of Himachal Pradesh to purchase land in the state.

“The present government (from Jan 1, 2008 to Feb 25, 2010) has granted 609 permissions for purchase of 618 hectares in the state,” he added.

Replying during the debate, Thakur said: “In a case (in an obvious reference to grant of permission to Priyanka Vadra), the permission was granted in just two days. It’s a good thing but there should be no violation of the rules.”

Under Himachal Pradesh laws, only the state’s permanent residents can buy land in the state. Others who want to purchase the land for non-agricultural purposes have to seek relaxations from the government under provisions of the Himachal Pradesh Tenancy and Land Reforms Act,

Local residents claim a cottage being built at Mashobra in a typical hill architecture style, with wooden frames and a sloping tiled roof, belongs to Priyanka Vadra.

The cottage is being built at a height of more than 8,000 feet amid thick verdant forests of pine and cedar in the Charabra area, about 15 km uphill from here, in Shimla district, the area residents said.

In 2007, the then Congress government in the state had allowed Priyanka Vadra to buy land from US-based Satish Kumar Sood and Satinder Sood for around Rs.4.7 million. The plot is close to The Retreat, the summer holiday resort of President Pratibha Patil.

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