Himachal government orders enquiry into 'benami' land deals

Shimla: Under attack from opposition Congress for allegedly "encouraging" benami land deals, Himachal Pradesh government on Saturday ordered enquiry into two more cases.

"Consequent upon call given by the Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal to expose benami land deals, awakened citizens have reported three more cases to him and Chief Minister has ordered enquiry into it by the Principal Secretary (Revenue), concerned Divisional Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners and asked them to report back immediately," an official spokesperson here said.

Chief Minister had already ordered an enquiry into one case pertaining to purchase of land in violation of section 118 of HP Tenancy and Land Reforms Act, which barred any land purchase by non-agriculturists, including bonafide Himachalis.

Chief Minister said that one case of illegal land deal has been reported from Palampur where a person Sudesh Kumar, a non-Himachali and non-agriculturist has constructed triple storey house in the Tea Garden in Mohal Lohna, Tehsil Palampur in District Kangra, in violation of the laid down norms and without obtaining the permission of the government to purchase land and construct house.

He said that Principal Secretary (Revenue), Divisional Commissioner, Kangra and Deputy Commissioner, Kangra have been directed to get the case investigated send report to him by May 25.

In another case one Raman Sharma, resident of Rohini, Delhi, a non-Himachali and non-agriculturist, has purchased orchard land in village Nav Bahar, Shimla in violation of the Act and enquiry had been ordered and report sought by May 31.

The third case has been reported from Paonta Sahib wherein a non-agriculturist Charanjit Singh, resident of Badripur, Paonta Sahib, had purchased 15.8 bigha of land in Mauja Badripur and further sold it to his sister-in-law Kuljeet Kaur, wife of Kulwant Singh, also a non-agriculturist for Rs 5 crore and got the registration done for only Rs 54 lakh.

The enquiry report in this case has also been asked for before May 27, the spokesperson said.