Monday, August 1, 2011

'Gurgaon land deal favoured Gandhi family'

CHANDIGARH: The Haryana government has adopted a pick-and-choose policy in acquiring land in Gurgaon and has favoured a trust run by the Gandhi family by exempting their land from the acquisition process, the Punjab and Haryana high court was told.

This was learnt during the hearing of a bunch of petitions filed by landowners, including artist Anjolie Ela Menon, against the acquisition of 1,417 acre of land in Sectors 58, 63, 65, 67 in Gurgaon.

While the case is on for the last one week, the Haryana government on Monday told the HC that it has set up a high-power committee to sort out the issues raised by landowners. Artist and Padma Shri awardee Menon said, "It is probably being done to take the matter away from judiciary so that it can be decided administratively."

The case will come up for hearing on Tuesday.

During the hearing of the petitions in the last seven days, it was revealed that the state government released land in favour of the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust. UPA chairwoman Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul and daughter Priyanka are its trustees. The trust was supposed to set up an eye hospital and research centre in Ullawas village.

The trust was given the exemption by the Haryana government at a time when the entire 1,417 acre land was being acquired and notification had been issued under Section 4 and Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act.

The Punjab and Haryana high court asked the state government to inform if there was any policy about leasing land even after notification to acquire land is issued under the Sections 4 and 6. In her main petition Menon asserted the "acquisition is for proposed development that is clearly violative of several environmental laws and directions of the Supreme Court of India, and additionally, is apparently detrimental to the sensitive ecological balance and water table of this region since it forms a catchment area of the Aravali mountains".

Other petitioners have alleged discrimination and favoritism by the state government. They claimed that Haryana government acquired the vacant land belonging to those who have collaborated with private builders.


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