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Never intended to defraud UP govt, says Big B
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | September 29, 2007 16:21 IST
In yet another twist in the land scam case, actor Amitabh Bachchan [Images] has claimed that he never even intended to defraud the government.
In an affidavit before the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court on Friday, Big `B' said, "I was never given an opportunity to establish my ownership of the 2.5 bigha land in Daulatpur village of Barabanki district over which the state government has unnecessarily raised a dispute."
The hearing in the case has been fixed for October 5.
Stressing that he had no intention to commit any fraud as was being alleged by the state government , Bachchan said, "I purchased an equivalent land in the same village and offered to donate it for construction of a school ; why would I do that if I had any intention to usurp government land by fraudulent means."
He argued, "So what if I am a non-resident of the village or even if my ancestors had not lived there ; after all there is no law barring a non-resident to acquire land in a UP village."
The 2.5 bigha (about 70,000 sq ft) land belonging to Daulatpur gram sabha in Barabanki district was entered in the superstar's name in violation of laws of the state. The entry was alleged to have been backdated to 1983.
Bachchan's idea behind the allotment was to safeguard the purchase of a huge 6-hectare farm in Pune in Maharashtra, where land revenue laws do not permit ownership of agricultural property by anyone other than a "farmer".
An obliging UP administration under Mulayam Singh Yadav reportedly favoured him with a land record entry to entitle him the status of a "farmer".
A certificate was promptly issued, allegedly under directions of Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh, who enjoys close proximity to Bachchan. Later, on inquiry initiated by the Maharashtra adminstration, UP officials found the entry to have been forged.