The BJP government in Himachal Pradesh has decided to institute an inquiry into all controversial land sanctions granted under the HP Tenancy and Land Reforms Act,1972,during the regime of the previous Congress government led by Virbhadra Singh,who is at present the Union Minister for Steel.
According to Section 118 of the Act,no non-Himachali can buy land in the state without obtaining requisite permission from the state government. The permission is cleared at the level of the chief minister on recommendations of the revenue minister.
All cases,which are at present under the review of the government for alleged irregularities,will now be investigated by the states Vigilance and Anti-corruption Bureau,said a source.
The decision,which was taken at a Cabinet meeting on Monday,will be made public after the states revenue department decides on the number of cases that are to be handed over to the Director General of Police (Vigilance).
According to a rough estimate,the states revenue department had placed around 169 cases before Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal for a follow-up action. The order for a vigilance inquiry by Dhumal followed thereafter.
Immediately after the decision,highly placed sources said,Chief Secretary Asha Swaroop asked the top officials of the revenue department to submit a the list of cases and details of people who were granted permission to buy land in the state.
Dhumal,when contacted,confirmed that the inquiry has been ordered and that it would spill the beans on the Congress which had been raising the issue of diluting Section 118 time and again.
The Vigilance probe is aimed at hitting two targets to prevent the Congress from raising the issue of Section 118 in the upcoming monsoon session of the Assembly,and counter the Oppositions charge that the present dispensation was patronising land mafia in the state.
The Congress,in a report submitted to Governor Prabha Rau before the Lok Sabha elections,had claimed that the land mafia had become active ever since the BJP returned to power.