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BJP Raises Gurgaon Gandhi Family Trust Land Issue

PTI 02 Aug 2011, 22:53:48 IST

New Delhi, Aug 2 : The BJP on Tuesday hit back at the Congress seeking an explanation why the Haryana government took a soft stance while allotting land to a trust managed by the Gandhi family  in Gurgaon.
A day after the Punjab and Haryana High Court pulled up the Haryana government for flouting laws to grant 8 acre land to Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust, BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad questioned the Congress's ethics on the land issue.
”I want to ask Congress leaders, they want B. S. Yeddyurappa's head for 1 acre of land and in this case, a huge area of land is involved with a trust managed by the Gandhi family. What was the need to go soft on this during acquisition? Haryana government should explain this and cancel the allotment,” Prasad said.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had on Monday pulled up the Haryana government for flouting laws to grant 8 acres to trust.
The court said it was clear that the state government had favoured the trust run by the Gandhi family by exempting the land from the process while acquiring land for development of Sectors 58-63 in Gurgaon's Ullahawas village.
The Haryana government adopted a pick-and-choose policy in acquiring land in Gurgaon and favoured a trust run by the Gandhi family  by exempting their land from the acquisition process, the high court was told.

This was learnt during the hearing of a bunch of petitions filed by landowners, including artist Anjolie Ela Menon, against the acquisition of 1,417 acre of land in Sectors 58, 63, 65, 67 in Gurgaon.

While the case is on for the last one week, the Haryana government on Monday told the High court that it has set up a high-power committee to sort out the issues raised by landowners. Artist and Padma Shri awardee Menon said, “It is probably being done to take the matter away from judiciary so that it can be decided administratively.”

During the hearing of the petitions in the last seven days, it was revealed that the state government released land in favour of the  Rajiv Gandhi  Charitable Trust.
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul and daughter Priyanka are its trustees. The trust was supposed to set up an eye hospital and research centre in Ullawas village.

The trust was given the exemption by the Haryana government at a time when the entire 1,417 acre land was being acquired and notification had been issued under Section 4 and Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act.

The Punjab and Haryana high court asked the state government to inform if there was any policy about leasing land even after notification to acquire land is issued under the Sections 4 and 6.
In her main petition Menon asserted the “acquisition is for proposed development that is clearly violative of several environmental laws and directions of the Supreme Court of India, and additionally, is apparently detrimental to the sensitive ecological balance and water table of this region since it forms a catchment area of the Aravali mountains”.

Other petitioners have alleged discrimination and favoritism by the state government. They claimed that Haryana government acquired the vacant land belonging to those who have collaborated with private builders.

In Lucknow, reacting to acquisition of land by the Congress-led Haryana government for the Rajiv Gandhi Trust, the Bahujan Samaj Party today said this had exposed tall claims of the party which was trying to project iself as sympathiser of farmers.

“The Haryana government claims its land acquisition policy is the best but the land given to the Trust showed to which extent it can flout acquisition norms,” a BSP spokesman said here.

If the farmers were satisfied with the acquisition, then they would not have approached the High Court, he said adding the Congress should concentrate on states ruled by it instead of meddling in affairs of other states.

Claiming the land acquisition policy of the Uttar Pradesh government was the best, he said it had taken into consideration farmers' economic interest.  The ruling BSP in Uttar Pradesh demanded immediate cancellation of the land for the Rajiv Gandhi Trust.

The Bhupinder Singh Hooda government today told the Punjab and Haryana High Court that it had approved setting up of a high-powered committee to consider cases of petitioners in connection with acquisition of land for development of Sectors 58-63 in Gurgaon which includes the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust in Ullahawas village.