SENSATIONAL: Khaira under lens for 30 yrs on acquiring, selling Bhakra Dam land

Khaira has so far refused to comment on these controversies, often calling them a political witch-hunt

NEW DELHI | Updated: 29 September, 2023 1:00 am IST
Congress MLA Sukhpal Khaira faces allegations of land fraud in Bhakra Nangal Dam project

NEW DELHI: Even as Congress in Punjab is accusing AAP of political vendetta against their Bholath MLA Sukhpal Khaira following his dramatic arrest in the wee hours of Thursday, documents as recent as last year have now pointed towards alleged fraud involving government land, that was earmarked for the dream project of Bhakra Nangal dam started by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, committed by him.

At least three revenue deeds, dated from 1966, 1971 and 1976 state that a land chunk 21 kanal, 9 marla in village Kandiali in Adampur in Jalandhar belongs to central government. The Column No. 5 under the 1971 deed clearly defines the purpose of land — use for Bhangra Nangal dam project.

The ownership suddenly changes to Jaswant Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Bhagh Singh and Sansar Singh, according to the Naib Tehsildar’s report in 1996 which also states that that fifty percent of the land has been transferred to Khaira.

The 1965-66 land record establishes the Central government’s ownership of the land for the Bhakra Nangal Project

 

The 1970-71 land record further confirms Central government ownership of the land for the Bhakra Nangal Project

 

The 1975-76 land record continues to affirm Central government ownership of the land for the Bhakra Nangal Project

After 20 years, the ownership of the overall land chunk changes in 2015-16 to one Pritam Singh along with Khaira.

However, the land record for 2015 inexplicably indicates a transfer of ownership to Sukhpal Singh Khaira, son of Sukhjinder Singh

Between 1996-2015, senior engineers from Bhakra Nangal authority kept writing missives to the deputy commissioner of Jalandhar district while apprising them of their original ownership of the land chunk but appeals fell on deaf ears.

Separately, an SDM on November 23, 2010, wrote to Naib Tehsildar, warning the authorities to not issue registry deeds of the ownership as the allotment was illegally given to private persons, causing indiscriminate losses to state exchequer.

The order by the SDM barred anyone from selling or transacting any business on this land chunk, including Khaira or others. However, Khaira, allegedly, sold this chunk in 2018.

Khaira has so far refused to comment on these controversies, often calling them a political witch-hunt. But his arrest over a 2015 NDPS case has put a spotlight on his chequered past.

“No FIR has ever been registered against me. Both Akalis and Congress tried to test me. Accusations on me had first surfaced when their allegations on environment clearance against Akali Dal’s then treasurer N K Sharma. Nothing was found. I have always legitimately bought and sold the land…” Khaira has said in the past.

However, Ranjit Singh Rana, now accuses Khaira of withholding the declaration on either possessing or selling this land.

 “Land extortion and forgery complaints are among the multiple cases registered against him. He cunningly acquiring government properties through a labyrinth of forgeries and illegal channels, often with the complicity of influential political figures,” said Advocate Harsimran Singh Ghuman Rana who stays in Adampur.

Such accusations were made part of letter by Ghuman’s father in 2022 who accused Khaira of deploying audacious tactics through land mafias.

“They actively seek out individuals with identical names and fathers’ names, assuming their identities to secure land allotments. Subsequently, they manoeuvre to transfer these lands into their own names and those of their cohorts. In the same cases various reports were made by concerned officer of revenue department when the fraud got unearthed but no action has been taken so far,” said Rana.

Rana had even sought an FIR with charges of criminal conspiracy and forgery (120 B and 420) of the IPC, alongside other pertinent provisions of the law.

In a previous interview with a private channel, Khaira allegedly made admissions regarding the sale and purchase of the land in question.

 

The engineers submitted requests to the Deputy Commissioner of Jalandhar seeking the cancellation of allotment as carried out by the Tehsildar

 

The SDM wrote to the Tehsildar, requesting the land records to rectify the incorrect land registry

 

In response to the SDM’s inquiry, the Tehsildar furnishes information regarding the land’s transition from Central government ownership and the subsequent sale of half of the property to Khaira
The Tehsildar provides a comprehensive account of the property’s ownership history, showing that it was initially under the Central government’s ownership, subsequently transferred to Jaswant Singh in 1995-96, and just one month later, it was transferred to Khaira

 

 

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