As the Congress grapples with controversy over appointment of Asha Kumari as in-charge in Punjab, owing to her conviction in a land grab case, some interesting facts have come to light relating to her ‘role’ in the same.
The case was registered against Kumari and her husband, Chamba royal family scion Rajkumar Brijendra Singh, by the state vigilance and anti-corruption bureau in November 2001 after the CMO forwarded a complaint by Kuldeep Singh, a former Chamba councillor. The complaint was regarding alleged forging of documents between 1974 and 1976. Strangely, Kuldeep Singh had died in January that year.
“That shows the BJP government had acted out of political vendetta and ordered probe against me in the alleged land grabbing matter on a complaint by a gentleman who died nine months ago” Kumari points out.
Her lawyer D P Malhotra recalls having raised this point before the trial court. “None of the 60 witnesses examined had named her as part of the conspiracy since she was not married to the family at that time,” he said. Kumari married Brijendra Singh in 1979.
- Unnao rape case: Here’s everything you need to know
- Unnao rape case: Don’t just detain, arrest BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, Allahabad HC directs CBI
- Dearth of leadership in Congress fanning criminality and corruption: BJP
- Sobbing in court, I thought I was finished… today, I have been cleared: Asha Kumari
- Himachal MLA Asha Kumari gets 1-year jail term
- Land grab case: SC confirms charges of cheating against AICC gen secy Asha Kumari
The Chamba trial court order also reads: “Since the role of accused numbers 4 (Pushap Gulati) and 5 (Parkash Chand) was merely a witness to document and has not achieved anything out of this transaction. Similarly, accused number 7 (Asha Kumari) was not at Chamba in year 1979 and the tenants had acquired prosperity rights before execution of the GPAs (General Power of Attorney) in her favour and only thereafter she had executed the sale deeds in favour of her husband, the accused no 4 and no 5 and accused no 7 are sentenced to undergo simple imprisonment for one year…”
Four other accused in the case were sentenced to three years imprisonment.
On February 26 this year, a Chamba court sentenced her to one year in prison for forging revenue records between 1974 and 1976. The Himachal High Court in March suspended the sentence.
The facts of the case, which attracted her conviction, originates from a property dispute between two brothers – R K Brijendra Singh (who died in 2005) and ‘Raja’ Prem Singh.
Between 1971 and 1974, a lots of their properties, including forests, were supposed to have been vested with the state government under the Big Landed Estate Abolition Act and state tenancy laws.
It was alleged that she had forged documents, to divest the land from the state, in connivance with revenue officials. The complainant questioned the validity of land record entries done on May 5 and May 13 of 1974 and June 17,1976.
The state vigilance, in 2001, claimed that it had Kuldeep Singh on record alleging that nearly 60 bighas was grabbed by forging government records.
The complainant had also filed a writ (no 1732 of 1995) in the High Court alleging the same. The writ, Asha Kumari recalls, was dismissed in July 1996 and that the High Court upheld the revenue records. Later, the state Lokayukta also gave her a clean chit.