Top bureaucrats in Gujarat land scamMarch 21st, 2010 - 6:21 pm ICT by IANS
Gandhinagar, March 21 (IANS) Top bureaucrats and police officers in Gujarat have come under judicial scrutiny over charges of usurping a piece of land belonging to the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL) and building a posh residential retreat for themselves complete with golf course and ayurvedic spa.
The matter came into focus when the Gujarat High Court ordered an enquiry into the circumstances leading to the alleged encroachment of 92 hectares of land, near Alloa village on the outskirts of the state capital alongside the picturesque Sabarmati river ravines, where the bureaucrats and top cops have invested in palatial plots and posh bungalows.
A high court bench headed by Chief Justice S.J. Mukhopadhyay, taking cognizance of a plea by a Gandhinagar resident Ghanshyamsinh Vaghela, ordered the probe March 18.
The land is currently valued at around Rs.400 crore.
The court directed the district inspector of land records to measure the land and the land records office to probe the allegation of tampering of revenue records. The land was given to the SSNNL on a 15-year-lease in 1993 for afforestation.
The petition claims that neither was any afforestation work carried out on the land nor was the land returned to the government.
The petition charges the Joint Managing Director of the SSNNL K. Srinivas, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, with changing revenue records in collusion with revenue officials and a body called the Alloa Non-trading Association disregarding popular agitation by the local villagers.
The land was transferred to the association which launched a scheme called Alloa Hill Resorts.
On Vaghela’s plea, the court sought an explanation from the SSNNL and the state government which refuted the charge.
Vaghela revealed more names of IAS and Indian Police Service (IPS) officers who have property in the scheme. The case is slated to come up for hearing April 19.
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Tags: afforestation, bureaucrats, cognizance, court bench, encroachment, gujarat high court, hill resorts, indian administrative service, indian police service, ips officers, judicial scrutiny, land scam, mukhopadhyay, narmada, nigam ltd, ravines, residential retreat, revenue officials, sabarmati river, sardar sarovar narmada nigam