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DM orders taking over of dera property in Himachal
Kulwinder Sandhu/Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, April 26
Kangra district magistrate Bharat Khera has asked the revenue department to take over the possession of 175 kanals of prime land in Chachian village of Palampur subdivision of Kangra district as the state property and ‘vest the property in the name of the state government as the owner in revenue records’.

The land was allegedly the ‘benami’ property of Dera Sacha Sauda that was acquired by it in the names of some local people.

The DM said the land was illegally in the possession of the dera violating the very spirit of Section 118 of the Himachal Pradesh Transfer of Land (Regulation) Act, 1968.

During the course of trial, it was brought to his notice that the dera had acquired 175 kanals of land by preparing 20 sale deeds and seven lease deeds. The property was illegally taken over by the dera six years ago.

The seven lease deeds were prepared on behalf of the dera and registered with the government, while 20 sale deeds were prepared on behalf of 20 persons hailing from various part of the state. While purchasing the land, these people had promised to use it for agriculture purposes.

An inquiry into the matter found that the land possessed by the organisation was ‘benami’. The report said instead of the 20 owners of the land, the religious organisation was availing the benefit from the land. The report also said that the controversial land was being utilised for non-agricultural purposes and the owners had not obtained permission from the government for changing the land use.

The administration had served several notices on the religious organisation to clarify the status of the land. It was also observed in the inquiry that the dera had invested money in the land purchased on the name of various people.

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