Big B not a farmer
Lucknow, June 1
Faizabad Additional Commissioner Vidya Sagar Prasad ruled that entry in the land records declaring Bachchan as the owner of the particular plot of land in Daulatpur village in Barabanki district, 35 km from Lucknow, was “tampered and forged.”
The court also ruled that Bachchan was “not a farmer” - as he had claimed.
The star, a friend of former chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, had received three ‘bighas’ (about 70,000 sq feet) of land in the village from the government as largesse.
The verdict has removed the hurdle in instituting a probe into the reported tampering of land records.
Moreover, the decision of Faizabad additional commissioner is bound to complicate matters for Jaya Bachchan, a Rajya Sabha MP from Samajwadi party, who is already facing a petition filed by Barabanki Congress leader Amir Haider before the Election Commission accusing her of concealing information regarding the land in her affidavit before the Returning Officer in 2004.
Today’s decision also puts Big B’s claim over an up-market farmhouse near Pune in jeopardy and makes a mockery of his famous ‘jurm hai yahan kam’ advertisements in support of the Samajwadi party government in the recent Assembly election campaign.
The yearlong pending matter suddenly acquired urgency with the installation of the BSP government last month when Chief Minister Mayawati had asked Barabanki DM Leena Chaudhury to present a report within 24 hours to the State Revenue Board regarding the status of Bachchan land.
This was followed by the hearing of Bachchan’s review petition that was dismissed today by Faizabad additional commissioner. In his petition, Bachchan had demanded the continuation of a stay into an investigation of alleged tampering of land records pertaining to a barely 0.25 hectare of agricultural land worth Rs 5 lakh in Barabanki district.
The ownership claim is crucial, as it has granted him the status of a farmer making him technically eligible to buy a farmhouse in Mawal near Pune.
After hearing the arguments from both sides, the additional commissioner reserved the order on May 29.
Today in his seven-page order, he vacated the controversial stay granted on March 26, 2006, by former Barabanki district magistrate Ramashankar Sahu challenging the order of his predecessor DM Ashish Goyal questioning the authenticity of Bachchan’s claim and charge sheeting the person who had issued the certified copies sent to Pune.
Sahu had stayed Goyal’s orders on the ground that it had not given sufficient opportunity to the other party (namely Bachchan) to produce the evidence.
Two days earlier on March 24, 2006, Goyal had issued a strongly worded administrative mentioning ‘prima facie evidence of tampering of the land records’ and giving clear instructions on three points.
Goyal was transferred a day after he issued orders questioning the authenticity of Bachchan’s claim. He was replaced by Ramashankar Sahu who stayed Goyal’s order.
Today’s decision has finally upheld Goyal’s order by vacating Sahu’s stay.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra officials contacted the then DM Barabanki Ashish Goyal regarding the veracity of the land records furnished by his office who asked his ADM to look into the matter.