The Haryana government said Wednesday it would consider returning five acres allotted to the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust in Ulhawas, Gurgaon if such a request were to come from the village panchayat.
Responding to a question from BJP’s Om Prakash Yadav in the state assembly, agriculture minister O P Dhankar said: “It seems the intention of the member is to get the matter probed. We will probe this matter, why were so many extensions granted to the trust by bending rules.”
While in power, the previous Congress government of Bhupinder Singh Hooda was criticised for allegedly favouring the trust — it has Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her children Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as trustees.
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The land was given in 2009 for setting up a charitable eye hospital at the rate of Rs 3 lakh per acre with five per cent annual increase with the stipulation that the hospital would be constructed within a period of two years of lease. Dhankar told the House that the period of construction was extended up to January 7, 2017 on the request of the trust. So far, a shed of 1,200 square feet has been constructed.
Congress members sat quietly — Hooda was not present in the House — when the minister spoke on the allotment of land to the trust.
Congress MLA from Palwal, Karan Singh Dalal, was the only one to protest: “This case has already been decided by the High Court. And a piece of land was also given to an NGO run by Maneka Gandhi. Will the government hold an inquiry into that allotment as well?”
But Dhankar said: “No decision was taken by the High Court in this matter. A case was filed by the villagers but was withdrawn, saying it would be filed again with better preparation. As far as other cases are concerned, the government is committed to probe all irregularities wherever there are complaints.”
He said it had come to the notice of the government that in the last two-and-half years of the previous government, land was given to many societies and trusts. “Kahin kahin daal me kala hota hai. Yahan to daal hi kaali lagti hai. At many of the allotments, no work has been conducted. Wherever panchayats want their land back, we will consider returning these to the villages,” he said.