Govt gets tough on benami land deals

Inquiry ordered into Manali land sale

Shimla: With opposition congress having let their intentions be known of making sale of land in the state an election issue, chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal on Tuesday ordered an express inquiry into an complaint about fraudulent purchase of land by a Punjab resident in Manali.

Marking the inquiry, Dhumal has asked principal secretary revenue, divisional commissioner Mandi and deputy commissioner Kullu to investigate that case of one Avinash Kumar, a resident of Ropar, for having allegedly acquired land at five places in Manali by illegally having acquired an agriculture land owner certificate.

Land remains a sensitive issue in Himachal and HP Land Tenancy and Reforms Act, 1972 prohibits purchase of agriculture land by a non-agriculturalist or by a resident of another state.

Avinash is said to have purchased the said land between December, 2007 and November 2008. Dhumal has asked the investigating officers to submit the report by Friday. “Strict action will be taken against errants,” warned the chief minister.

Expressing concern about alleged Benami land transactions, Dhumal said despite having written personal letters to union minister Virbhadra Singh, opposition leader Vidya Stokes and congress state president Kaul Singh Thakur asking them to point out all shady land deals, he had received no information from them.

Appealing to the people for bringing to the notice of the government about any benami land transaction they know of, the chief minister said that the government would maintain a strict vigil over land transactions taking place in different parts of the state.

No ‘benami’ transaction would be permitted in the state in any case, he said.

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