Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Thursday said he had no role in confiscation order of a land in Kangra belonging to Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan, saying it has no connection with the PIL filed by Bhushan against him few months ago.
“I am sorry to say that a person like Prashant Bhushan, who enjoys a high status in the society, behaves in a manner uncalled for to issue statements, which are baseless”, said the Chief Minister here. He added that the order of the District Collector’s court was incidental and has no connection whatsoever with the PIL.
Virbhadra Singh said the notice to Bhushan’s society – Kumud Bhushan Education Society – was issued by Deputy Commissioner of Kangra during the BJP regime in 2012. Since then the proceedings in the court were going on as Bhushan had not used the land for the specified purpose it was granted by the state government.
“The Deputy Commissioner has taken a long time to decide the case and he apparently had followed a due process of law to conduct a thorough probe before vesting the land to the government. There have been illegalities committed. In fact all such land deals were being probed by the government where the promoters have failed to utilise the land for the specified purposes”, he said.
Earlier, the state Vigilance and Anti-corruption body had recommended confiscation of the land . In its report, the body had concluded that the society had committed serious violations of the terms and conditions of the rule for utilisation of the land to set-up an educational institution. “No school or college existed at the land having affiliation to the University or State Board of School education. Only an educational institution – Sambhawana – existed,” the report had said.
In reply to a question about scores of tea gardens having been sold at Palampur, the Chief Minister said the government will enforce law relating to ban sale of tea estates strictly as it falls under the provisions of HP Land Ceiling Act.
“The government does not intent to allow sale or transfer of tea gardens except if the property is transferred or partitioned within a family. We will frame stringent law and will enforce them strictly into sale and purchase of tea gardens and the previous violations if any would be looked into,” he added.
On being questioned about the proposed visit of a Pakistani team for inspection of the 120 MW Miar hydel project, the Chief Minister said, “State government welcomes the Pakistani delegations. As per the 1960 Indus Water Treaty both the countries can visit the sites of works of development. If any project is coming on River Chandra-Bhaga, it will not hinder the flow of water and there would be no loss of water as such as same was being utilise for non-consumptive purpose.”
Asked about results of by-elections in Gujarat, Rajasthan and other states, the Chief Minister said that the Modi wave was slowly diminishing and the people have started voting on the issues. He said that the by-elections were fought on ‘issues and not on emotions’. The people were broadly thinking on development and other issues and policies.