Citys periphery Around 35,000 sale deeds in Nayagaon prima facie held illegal.
Mincing no words,the Judicial Tribunal,constituted to look into alleged illegal properties owned by higher-ups in the citys periphery,has submitted that a land grab scam is operating specially in Punjab villages in citys periphery.
Recommending a CBI probe into such land-grab cases,the tribunal in its detailed interim inquiry report has stated that thousands of acres of land has either been grabbed or is in the process of being grabbed. Consider this: there are about 30,000-35,000 registered sale deeds at Karoran village (Naya Gaon) which have come under the scanner of the tribunal and have been prima facie found to be illegal.
In a significant recommendation which may spell trouble for several high-ups and land grabbers,the three-member tribunal has suggested that land from such illegal grabbers must be dispossessed and the grabbers must be ordered to pay mesne profits for all the period during which they were illegally occupying the public lands.
The tribunal,headed by Justice (retd) Kuldip Singh,has also found active connivance of officials of Revenue Consolidation Departments in the land scam. To ensure that effective action is taken against such errant officials,the tribunal has recommended that officers/officials of the Revenue/Consolidation Departments who are found to be involved during investigations by a competent independent authority,be punished suitably along with the persons who took possession of the lands and enjoyed it illegally over the years.
Making it clear that conspiracy with the revenue officials and other high-ups cannot be ruled out,the tribunal has said that the work of protecting Panchayat/government/public lands cannot be left to the governmental authorities.
The 42-page inquiry report reads: Several cases have come before us where the governmental authorities have taken indifferent attitude towards a patent fraud being committed in respect of such lands.
The tribunal has stated that to unearth the land grab scam all over Punjab is a gigantic work. It may take years to complete.
The tribunal,comprising Justice (retd) Kuldip Singh,Advocate P N Aggarwal and Babu Ram Gupta,has made certain recommendations for consideration of the Punjab and Haryana high Court. Special officers with the powers of Collector and Commissioner in terms of the various special Acts dealing with the land matters be created as exclusive courts/authority to deal with the pending as well as the fresh cases pertaining to the land laws. We are suggesting this on the parity of fast track courts created to deal with criminal cases. At least one Special Court should be created in each district, reads the report.
Surprisingly,the tribunal has found out that in certain cases,lower courts passed illegal orders. Orders of the civil courts/consolidation and revenue authorities which were prima facie illegal and based on fraud/collusion and conspiracy,though never challenged,should be reopened and decided afresh by the Court. The High Court may consider constituting a special Bench to monitor the above-said cases. The Special Bench may also deal with all the fresh petitions, the tribunal has noted.
Certain mutations in Kansal and Karoran villages in Chandigarhs periphery have come under the scanner of the tribunal.
In 1993-94,as much as 570 kanal,18 marlas was in the nature of Jumla Mustarka Malkan Hasab Rasad Khewat . But before that,the then Additional Director,Consolidation,K S Minhas had passed an order on June 27,1984,regarding land in Kansal. Based on the order,mutation number 2378 was sanctioned on January 25,1999,showing ‘right holders,who sold shares to various persons, reads the report.
But,even before the sanction of mutation number 2378,Sonam Kumar,son of Punjabs former Governor Lt Gen B K N Chhibbar,and two others obtained general powers of attorney in 1998. The same year,and early next year,shares in respect of 96 kanals 15 marlas were purchased from right holders by Harjinder Singh,Sumedh Singh Saini (32 kanal,nine marlas),S S Brar and J S Brar. About seven months before mutation number 2378 was sanctioned,Saini,S S Brar,Sonam Kumar,Harjinder Singh and J S Brar got themselves in the joint cultivation of 229 kanals and 2 marlas, states the report.
The report concludes that the panel added the order dated June 27,1984,and mutation number 2378,changing the ownership from Jumla Mustarka Malkan to right holders in the revenue records and various sale deeds executed out of the Jumla Mustarka Malkan are wholly illegal,without jurisdiction and nullity.