THE PUNJAB and Haryana High Court on Wednesday directed the Principal Secretary of Punjab Rural Development and Panchayat Department to submit a detailed village-wise report on the government land grab cases by VIPs and others in the periphery villages of Chandigarh in Mohali district by November 9.
Hearing a bunch of petitions filed by Mohali resident Kuldip Singh and others, a division bench headed by Justice Surya Kant also ordered the special investigating team probing shamlat land cases in some such villages of Mohali to complete its probe and submit a report on the next date of hearing.
The court ordered the Principal Secretary of Rural Development and Panchayat Department to submit a village- wise report about the complaints of encroachments on shamlat land and the action taken in each case. The court made it clear if the Principal Secretary fails to comply with the court orders, he should remain present in the court on the next date of hearing.
During the hearing of the case, amicus curiae M L Sareen alleged that since the Punjab government did not want the probe to be completed, it had transferred DIG A K Mittal of the SIT in the middle of the probe. But the state government counsel informed the court that another officer had been appointed to the SIT in Mittal’s place and on the next date of hearing, the SIT report would be presented in the court.
The Punjab government is yet to inform the High Court that up to what extent it is going to implement the recommendations of Justice (retd) Kuldip Singh Tribunal wherein instances of alleged land-grabbing by some senior police officers, bureaucrats and politicians on Chandigarh’s periphery had been pointed out. In two interim reports submitted by the High Court-constituted tribunal in 2013 about 65 villages on Chandigarh’s periphery, it was pointed out that thousands of acres of shamlat (government) land were being grabbed “right under the nose of authorities” by politicians, bureaucrats, police officers and others.