Asha Kumari niece of Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh’s appointment as Punjab Congrss in charge kicked up a storm after it emerged that she had been convicted in a land grab case in which she had allegedly transferred forest land to her husband. She was sentenced to a year in jail but it currently out on bail.
Kumari, who is an MLA from Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh, was given one-year imprisonment by a Chamba court in February this year but is currently on bail.
Asha Kumari is a five-term MLA from Himachal Pradesh. She has been a minister two times in the Himachal government and currently secretary in the All India Congress Committee (AICC).
The case against her dates back to 1998 when a complaint was filed against her by a former Dalhousie councillor Kuldeep Singh. Presently, the matter is sub-judice. She has been accused of manipulating revenue records, fabricating wills and transferring 60 bighas of forest land belonging to the government in the name of her husband Brijendra Singh of the erstwhile royal family of Chamba.
Defending herself in the case in which she was convicted and sentenced to a year’s imprisonment, Asha Kumari said, “It has become fashionable to use the word ‘land grabbing’. How can I grab the land which belongs to my father-in-law.”
Kumari said the case was related to a property which was owned by her father-in-law and the tenants had forged some papers to claim ownership, which was challenged in court.
When asked if the controversy would have an adverse fallout for Congress in Punjab, she said, “Not at all”.
The information, coming as it did close on the heels of senior Congress leader Kamal Nath relinquishing the post of general secretary in-charge of Punjab, days after being appointed, over allegations of his role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, was reported to have caused embarrassment to the party.