M A I N   N E W S

Big B takes a dig at govt
‘Put me in jail if I have no right to own farmland’

New Delhi, August 12
Amitabh Bachchan has indicated that the problems he is facing over acquiring farmland in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra were due to politics and dared the government to put him in jail if it felt he was guilty of a wrongdoing.

“If media and the state feel that I have no right to own the land and there’s a problem about it, they can have it. They are going to put me in jail. What are they going to get out of it? I will go to jail,” he told a TV news channel in an interview.

“Finally, if they think I am guilty, what are they going to get?” he said, adding imprisonment would not affect him as he would not contest elections or “become the chief minister, prime minister or president”.

“I am just an actor,” asserted Bachchan, who recently said he would donate farmland he had bought at Barabanki to a village council after the Uttar Pradesh government raised questions about his eligibility to acquire the property.

Explaining his position, he said: “I had a certificate from the district magistrate in Barabanki confirming that this land is mine. This certificate was required for the land that I was purchasing in Bhavna here in Maharashtra. I submitted that to officials, they studied it and they gave me a possession document.

“Two or three years later, they suddenly said the certificate was wrong. How does anyone function in a situation like this? So every time there is a change of government, everything that has passed before, or any documentation that has been given to you as permission to continue doing your work, has to stop.” Bachchan also made it clear he would not return to politics, in which he was a “misfit”.

Bachchan also refuted allegations that he had fudged records to prove he was a farmer so that he could buy land in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.

“If owning agricultural land is classifying you as a farmer, then stop mocking me because there are millions of people who own agricultural land and do not necessarily go down on their hands and knees and till the earth,” he said.

Bachchan denied he was being targeted because of his association with the Samajwadi Party and its leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh and pointed out he was “hounded” for the Bofors scam even when his “friend” Rajiv Gandhi was the prime minister.

Asked if he regretted doing a TV advertisement for the Samajwadi Party in the run-up to the Uttar Pradesh polls that claimed the law and order situation there was better than in other states, he said: “I don’t regret it. It’s the central government that is convinced of the fact. Because I merely read what the central government report came out with.

“And recently, I read that in terms of crime rates, it is Delhi which is the highest. No one talks about Nandigram, the firing in Hyderabad, why just look at one issue?” — PTI



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