At least 35 officials of Haryana’s revenue department have been indicted for irregularities in registration of land deeds during the 10-year Congress rule. Of these, 20 have been chargesheeted and face major departmental penalties, including dismissal from service in some cases, say sources.
These officials are accused mainly of undervaluation of the land, leading to levy of reduced stamp duty and thus causing loss to the government exchequer, of crores of rupees in some cases.
Most of these deeds took place in Tehsil offices of Gurgaon, Manesar, Sohana, Karnal, Faridabad, Ballabhgarh, Rewari, Rohtak and Sonipat from 2007 to 2013.
According to sources, Comptroller of Auditor General (CAG), in its 2013-14 financial year audit, found these lapses, but no action was taken all these years. Three months ago, the Haryana Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee examined these reports and asked the revenue department to take action against erring officials. The department then conducted an internal probe and has now initiated action. Those chargesheeted for “major penalty” include 14 Tehsildars and six Naib Tehsildars; four Haryana Civil Services (HCS) officers and 11 District Revenue Officers (DROs).
BJP MLA from Panchkula, Gian Chand Gupta, who is chairman of Haryana Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee, said, “These land deeds were executed during the Congress regime. Till 2014, they did not take any action. We examined the issue in detail. Finally, about three months ago, we concluded that there were irregularities and asked the revenue department to take action as per law.”
“Basically, these officials charged stamp duty at the rate of agriculture land while the same should have been charged on residential or commercial rates. For instance, an industrial/residential plot was purchased for Rs 1.37 crore in three cases, but it was treated as agriculture land and a stamp duty of Rs 8.18 lakh was levied as against Rs. 20.43 lakh which was due,” a senior revenue official said.
The auditors had also detected irregularities in 134 more sale deeds when they inspected Tehsil offices in Rohtak, Hisar, Ambala, Jhajjar, Faridabad, Karnal, Yamunanagar, Panipat, Palwal and Panchkula. According to the auditors, these 134 sale deeds were liable to be assessed for Rs 41.78 crore based on the rates fixed for residential areas and stamp duty of Rs 2.59 crore was chargeable. However, the registering authorities assessed the deeds for Rs 10.71 crore as per rates for agricultural land and levied stamp duty of Rs 64.29 lakh. “This resulted in short levy of stamp duty of Rs 1.95 crore.”