Indian Cinema News
Mayawati government gets firm on Bachchan land scam
Oct 12, 2007, 15:34 GMT
Lucknow, Oct 12 (IANS) The Mayawati government in Uttar Pradesh Friday dashed mega star Amitabh Bachchan's hopes of wriggling out of a controversy involving fraudulent allotment of state-owned agricultural land to him by the previous Mulayam Singh Yadav regime. It told the state high court that it was 'amply evident' that forgery had been committed in the deal.
About 2.5 bighas (70,000 sq feet) of state-owned agricultural land was transferred in Bachchan's name in Daulatpur village of Barabanki, about 40 km from here, essentially to give him the tag of a 'farmer', without which he was unable to maintain his right over a 6-hectare farm in Pune district of Maharastra, where land revenue laws allow only 'farmers' to own agricultural property.
Though counsel representing Daulatpur gram sabha (village council) told the court Thursday that Bachchan could save himself of all criminal prosecution if he relinquished his claim over the land, the Uttar Pradesh government flatly rejected the gram sabha offer.
'Counsel for the gram sabha has no right to make such a declaration. After all, the land belongs to the state and it is amply evident from the official land records that forgery was committed to show Amitabh Bachchan as owner of this piece of land,' Advocate General Devendra Upadhaya told the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court Friday.
Refuting gram sabha counsel R.N. Gupta's earlier announcement about absolving Bachchan of the charges of 'fraudulent' allotment, Upadhaya said: 'The state government wishes to pursue the case as the entire process of allotment was done in gross violation of rules and through forgery in land records.'
The single judge bench of Justice A.N. Verma fixed Oct 24 for the next hearing in the case.
What seemed to surprise everybody was the sudden stand taken by the gram sabha counsel who had all along been critical of the manner in which the land allotment had been made in the name of the megastar.
Earlier, Bachchan had sent a letter to the chief minister offering to 'surrender' the land to the state government.
However, the government turned down the offer. 'Doesn't it sound like a thief offering to return stolen goods?' asked a senior government official.
© 2007 Indo-Asian News Service