M A I N   N E W S

HP to go after Annandale deals
Pratibha Chauhan/TNS

Shimla, September 19
The Himachal Pradesh government is learnt to have moved further against the alleged benami land deals in and around Annandale ground and others in the nearby Rampur-Keonthal area involving a private firm, Alchemist.

The government has reportedly invoked Section 118 of Tenancy and Land Reform Act. Sources said the Revenue Department has written to the Deputy Commissioner, Shimla, to initiate steps in the high-profile cases that figured prominently in the Congress chargesheet against the former BJP government. The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau is already investigating the case.

“An inquiry by the Deputy Commissioner brought out several issues in the purchase of 10 bighas around Annandale. This inquiry forms the basis of further action,” said an official.

The opinion of the Law Department was also being sought on the issue of sale of Annandale land given on lease to Gymkhana almost 50 years ago and the action and remedy on the complex issue, he added.

The DC’s report also mentions that a part of the ground used for the parking of the state government helicopter used by the Chief Minister, and is in the Army possession, has also been sold to private individuals. The government could acquire about 10 bighas of land around the ground, allegedly acquired through benami land deals by private individuals.

The findings of the report also indicate that the land sold by Gymkhana to some private individuals long time back was illegal as it could not have been sold, since it was on lease.

The findings about the illegal selling of land by the Gymkhana have been arrived at after sifting through various pre and post-Independence records of the Gymkhana.

The probe by revenue officials into the alleged benami land deal at Rampur-Keonthal on the periphery of Shimla indicated that 27 hectares of land was bought by some individuals but the payment, running into several crores, was allegedly made by a big private firm.

“Since there are indications that it is an alleged benami land deal, proceedings will be initiated under Section 118 of the Tenancy and Land Reform Act,” the official said.

In case of the Bemloe housing society, which also figured in the Congress chargesheet, the Revenue Department has decided to hand over the probe to the Vigilance Bureau.

It was during the BJP regime that a high-end housing society project was approved by the Municipal Corporation and the HP Urban Development Authority amidst a thick deodar forest, near Kanlog, on the outskirts of the town. 

Under scanner

  • The Revenue Department has told Shimla Deputy Commissioner to initiate proceedings in two such deals around Annandale and Rampur-Keonthal area
  • The first case pertains to sale of around 10 bighas of Annandale land given on lease to Gymkhana almost 50 years ago; a part of the ground used for parking the helicopter meant for the Chief Minister, has been sold to private individuals
  • The second case pertains to 27 hectares of land at Rampur-Keonthal on the periphery of Shimla; the land in this case was allegedly bought by some individuals, but the payment, running into several crores, was made by a private firm





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