A startling case pertaining to Haryana’s consolidation of land holdings department has come to light, in which a chartered accountant — in his early 40s — got “transfer of possessory rights” of a land in his favour on the basis that he was in possession of the land for the last 55 years.
According to the records of the communications (a copy of which is with The Indian Express) exchanged between officials of former director general (Consolidation of Land Holdings) Dr Ashok Khemka and Additional Chief Secretary-cum-Financial Commissioner (Revenue) Krishna Mohan, dated September 22, the land racket is estimated at Rs 15 crore.
The land in question, measuring around 51 kanals and 5 marlas, is located at Faridabad’s Chirsi village. The case dates back to February 17, 2011, when Gurgaon Assistant Consolidation Officer Dalbir Singh corrected an entry in the “khasra girdawari” (record of possession, possessory rights) on the basis of an application filed by Faridabad resident Bhupinder Singh. Bhupinder had claimed that he was in possession of the land for the last 50-55 years at Chirsi village in Faridabad Tehsil. Interestingly, at that time, Bhupinder was 40-45 years old.
When Khemka came to know about this, he cancelled the order passed by Dalbir Singh on September 21, 2012. The next day, Khemka wrote to Krishna Mohan: “The correction in khasra girdawari was made without jurisdiction and powers of Assistant Collector, 2nd Grade. The possession has been fraudulently recorded as ‘Bavajah Notor Bila Lagan Bashrah Kabja Dereena’ (due to betterment of field without land revenue of very old possession) in a malafide manner to wrongly benefit Bhupinder Singh, so as to enable him to claim title of the land by virtue of adverse possession. This single land racket is worth an estimated Rs 15 crore.”
While reversing Dalbir Singh’s orders, Khemka also issued a chargesheet against him for passing an order without jurisdiction. “On enquiry, it is revealed that the applicant Bhupinder Singh is a practicing chartered accountant of age 40-45 years and therefore, the retrospective correction since the last 50-55 years even before he was born is ludicrous,” wrote Khemka.
In October, this year, Bhupinder approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court and challenged Khemka’s orders on the plea that no notice was issued to him before passing such orders and that the “khasra girdawari” was rectified after spot inspection.
The high court, on October 19, held that the facts reveal a prima facie attempt by the petitioner to subvert the process of law by getting an officer to record “khasra girdawari” entries, though the officer was not empowered to do so. It added that the DG (Consolidation of Holdings), however, could not set aside the mutation without issuing a notice to the petitioner.
“In this view of the matter, we issue a notice of motion to the state of Haryana, directing it to produce the entire record. The petitioner is directed to place on record the sale deed, proof of possession and all other relevant documents, regarding consolidation proceedings,” the court ordered.
On December 1, the court passed another order, stating that the petitioner has been asked to produce the material to prima facie prove that he possessed the land 50 to 55 years ago. “The state of Haryana is directed to apprise the court, by way of an affidavit, of the powers conferred upon the director general (Consolidation of Holdings), produce the entire record of consolidation, the revenue record pertaining to the land in dispute, prior to and post consolidation,” it added.
The court, while including Dalbir Singh as a respondent in the case, also directed that an affidavit be filed with respect to any other suspicious khasra girdawari or jamabandi entries in the area concerned.
Incidentally, Dalbir Singh is the same officer who had allowed the mutation of land deal between Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra and real estate giant DLF in Gurgaon’s Shikhopur village. The mutation was cancelled by Khemka as DG (Consolidation).