Monday, July 29, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

MLA under cloud in land deal
Ravi S.Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, July 28
Leaders and land mafia in Haryana appear to have devised a smart methodology to cloak themselves with an aura of respectability after committing crimes. They invite bigwigs, especially the Chief Minister, if the poacher of rules are leaders of the ruling party. Never mind even if the crime committed involves serious corrupt practices, causing loss to the state exchequer.

Inviting the bigwigs also helps to browbeat and smother all possible opposition in future as it sends a public message to all concerned to mind their own business.

The visit of Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala to Dhorka village in Gurgaon tehsil, near here, at a housewarming function of his INLD MLA from the Pataudi Assembly constituency in this district, Mr Ramvir Singh, has invited frowns from wide-ranging quarters. The reason being that the purchase of more than six acres having a farmhouse by the four sons of Mr Ramvir Singh, a few days ago, is considered to have taken place after flouting rules in connivance with the government machinery. The development assumes significance as Mr Ramvir Singh was recently made the Chairman of the Haryana School Education Board. He is also the president of the district (Gurgaon) unit of the INLD.

The development also assumes significance as the names of a local Congress leader, Mr Bhupinder Singh Chowdhary, and an officer of the rank of DIG, at present posted with the BSF, also figure in the controversy. Their names figure for different reasons. The police officers is a native of Batala tehsil in Gurdaspur district in Punjab.

The police officer and his brother, Mr Satpal Singh, owned agriculture land measuring more than six acres at Dhorka village. In the revenue record, the police officer was the owner of only one-fourth of the land. The rest was owned by his brother. Mr Satpal Singh used to stay in Dhorka.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Chowdhary entered into a legal agreement with Mr Satpal Singh to purchase his share of three-fourths of the land (about four-and-a-half acres) on July 7, 1999 at the rate of Rs 8 lakh per acre. A sum of Rs 10 lakh was paid by Mr Chowdhary on the day of the agreement to Mr Satpal Singh as part payment. The agreement was again renewed on May 4,2000, at the instance of Mr Satpal Singh and Mr Chowdhary made another payment of Rs 6 lakh on the same day after receiving an assurance that the sale deed would be executed in his favour (Mr Chowdhary) shortly.

But the sale deed was not executed. On the contrary, the entire stretch of more than six acres was mortgaged to one Rao Ramesh Singh of Kanhi village in Gurgaon tehsil. The mortgage deed was duly effected through the office of the Tehsildar of Gurgaon on April 5,2001. The mortgage was done in eight parts against a payment of Rs 37 lakh to Mr Satpal Singh. There was also a condition for the payment of interest at the rate of 1 per cent on the principal amount at the time of release of the land.

According to the rules, the land could not have been mortgaged after the legal agreement made with another party (Mr Chowdhary) was still valid. The office of the Tehsildar perhaps did not ascertain the legal status of the land.

Suddenly Mr Ramvir Singh enters the scene. The entire land was given by Mr Satpal Singh in “patta” for 15 years to his four sons vide revenue record no 3588 on June 12,2002. Coincidentally, the entire land was released from mortage from Rao Ramesh Singh on the same day the patta was effected through the office of the local Tehsildar. In other words the principal amount plus the interest rate (which adds up to about Rs 39 lakh) was paid back by Mr Satpal Singh to Rao Ramesh Singh for the release of the land. The catch here is that patta, too, could not have been done as the agreement between Mr Chowdahary and Mr Satpal Singh was still alive.

When the matter became public in certain quarters, the patta deed which was for 15 years was converted into proper sale deeds in favour of the four sons of Mr Ramvir Sigh. The deeds were executed on July 4 this year vide revenue record numbers 4551, 4554, 4549 and 4550 at a total cost of Rs 27 lakh. The interesting part here is that the entire land was given to the sons of the INLD MLA at a sum lower than even the mortage amount! It is much more surprising as the same Tehsildar office which had released the land from mortgage had entertained a lower amount for the sale deed. In effect, the price of the land was undervalued and the registry was done at a lower rate, robbing the state of revenue in the process.

There is another incongruity in the episode. Mr Chawdhary had reached an agreement for Rs 8 lakh per acre. When one party had already made an agreement to pay a higher amount, that too about two years back, how could the price of the same land come down, in spite of the appreciation in the value of the land ?. It further underlines the fact the land was undervalued to rob the state exchequer of revenue incurring from the sale of the land.

There is another angle. The sale deed was effected in favour of the sons of Mr Ramvir Singh by resorting to the highest level of corrupt practices and apparently in collusion with officials. Mr Satpal Singh was legally the owner of only three-fourths of the land. He apparently procured power of attorney in his favour from his police officer brother. According to the rules, at the time of execution of the sale deed the real owner of the land has to be physically present before the Tehsildar concerned.

According to sources, someone else’s photo was shown to be that of the brother of Mr Satpal.

There is another angle which has raised eyebrows in wide-ranging quarters. For the payment of money against the purchase of land, Land Mortgage Bank sanctioned a sum of Rs 20 lakh as loan to the family members of Mr Ramvir Singh. According to many, the gesture of benevolence on the part of the bank to sanction Rs 20 lakh on the valued land of Rs 27 lakh is a rarity. 

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |