The Haryana government Monday hurriedly stepped in to put on hold an order by the former Gurugram District Collector divesting over 400 acres of prime land worth Rs 3000 crore from the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) that was being claimed by private real estate developers and individuals. The January 2 order cancelling the mutation of 464 acres in Gawal Pahari that was in the name of the MCG was passed by Satyaprakash T L, then district collector. He is now the Director, Town & Country Planning.
Several private colonisers and builders stood to gain from Satyaprakash’s order as the original residents had entered into sale-agreements or MoUs with them. Records accessed by The Indian Express show that Satyaprakash noted in his order that he was acting on “directions issued by the office of Chief Secretary” and claimed that he decided the case “as per facts”. He sent the file to Chief Secretary D S Dhesi where it was pending approval until today’s order.
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Sources have confirmed to The Indian Express that it was only over the weekend that the Chief Minister’s office learnt about the implications of the order. After Chief Minister M L Khattar was briefed on the case, the government began damage control. The MCG appealed the order in the court of the Divisional Commissioner and obtained a stay on the collector’s order. When contacted, Satyaprakash said: “My orders are absolutely legal and based on facts. I have not done anything beyond the mandate given to me by my senior officers. I was asked to decide the case within six weeks and I did so. I sent it up to the Chief Secretary. Now it is up to the government at the highest level to examine it”. Dhesi did not respond to calls or messages.
Said a senior officer in the Chief Minister’s Office: “The CM expressed strong reservations against the order. Instructions have been issued to the incumbent MCG to adopt legal procedures to save the land. There will be a probe into the circumstances under which the order was issued.” Indeed, Municipal Commissioner, Gurugram, V Umashankar filed an appeal before the Divisional Commissioner D Suresh. Documents accessed by The Indian Express reveal that the land is mired in a labyrinth of pending civil suits, appeals in the courts of Collector and Divisional Commissioner of Gurugram for the last 37 years. At least 15 top bureaucrats of Haryana have dealt with cases relating to this land.
As per records, the land’s mutation was in the name of MCG until the beginning of this year. On January 2, Satyaprakash T L, then posted as District Collector, Gurugram, and holding additional charge of Municipal Commissioner, Gurgaon (MCG) passed an order allowing mutation of 464 acres in favour of private players. Court of Divisional Commissioner, Gurugram, D Suresh today issued a “stay order” on the order. Highly placed sources disclosed that the “stay order” was issued after strict instructions from the Chief Minister that the order had to be reversed. Said Suresh: “The Collector’s orders are appealable in the court of Commissioner and thus a stay order has been issued today. I have kept the case’s final hearing on February 23 when all the affected parties and MCG shall be heard”.