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UP govt unimpressed by Amitabh's 'surrender' of land
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | July 19, 2007 20:52 IST
Even as the Uttar Pradesh government flatly refuted 'Big B' Amitabh Bachchan's [Images] claim that he had communicated his decision to surrender the agricultural land allotted to him by the previous government, the top bureaucracy in the current Mayawati regime made it loud and clear on Thursday that such an act was 'meaningless'.
"The chief minister has so far not received any letter from the star in this regard," principal secretary to chief minister Shailesh Krishna told mediapersons on Thursday evening.
He was clearly of the view that even if Bachchan were to surrender the controversial allotment of 2.5 bighas (about 70,000 sq ft) plot of agricultural land in Barabanki district, it would be a 'meaningless exercise'.
A report published in a top English daily on Thursday morning claimed that Bachchan had not only surrendered the land in Barabanki but also donated his 4 hectare farm in Pune to the local 'gram sabha' (village committee). The decision to give away the land was stated to have been taken in view of the controversies having sprung up on that account.
However, it was amply evident that in view of the stringent Maharastra laws, it had become impossible for the doyen of Indian cinema to hold on to his farm, as he had failed top prove himself as a 'farmer'.
Maharastra land laws do not permit ownership of any agricultural land by anyone other than a confirmed farmer anywhere in the country.
Bachchan's clout with Mulayam Singh Yadav and his man Friday Amar Singh, who then literally called the shots in UP, had got him an allotment of government-owned 'gram sabha' land in Daulatpur-Mohammadpur village in Fatehpur Tehsil of Barabanki district, about 50 km from Lucknow.
Allegedly made on a back-date, the allotment was aimed at getting Bachchan the 'desired' status of a 'farmer' so that he would not lose ownership of the Pune farm where several crores had already been invested.
However, the Barabanki allotment came in for judicial scrutiny and even cancelled by a district magistrate, who was made to pay the price for his daring act. His successor however carried out the will of the political masters .
However with the change of guard in Lucknow, Bachchan was at the receiving end once again.
The 'obliging' district magistrate's order was cancelled by the Faizabad divisional commissioner who went to the extent of declaring the allotment 'fraudulent' and the entry of Bachchan's name in revenue records as 'forgery'.
Even though Bachchan managed to get the commissioner's order stayed by the High Court, there was more to come.
"Clearly, there was no way that he could undo the forgery that had been committed in land records solely with the intent of benefiting Bachchan; perhaps that must be the reason why he thought of 'donating' his land which could not be his anymore," pointed out a senior IAS officer in the chief minister's secretariat.
He further maintained, "Even if Bachchan were to now surrender the Barabanki plot of land, it could not change the stand taken by the government; there was not even the least doubt that a forgery had been committed to benefit him."
According to him, "If an illegality could be legalised in such a manner, then every thief would seek immunity from the law by offering to return stolen goods."
He went on to add, "In this case it was a case of forged allotment of land which was bad in law ab initio, so where was he question of donating the same land which never belonged to that person."