Congress demands SC-monitored SIT probe into Gujarat land allocations

New Delhi: The Congress Party on Friday demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) into the report of allotting large parcels of land to private enterprises run by business associates of Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel’s daughter Anar Jayesh Patel.

“A probe by no other central agencies, except for a Supreme Court-monitored SIT, would be justified,” said Congress leader Anand Sharma.

“When Narendra Modi ji, the Prime Minister, was the Chief Minister of Gujarat under his watch nepotism flourished, conflict of interest was encouraged and public land was plundered in a brazen manner to promote the commercial and business interest of entities closely connected to the daughter of the then Revenue Minister and present Chief Minister of Gujarat Smt. Anandiben Patel,” he said.

“The allotment of land near the Gir Lions Sanctuary was made on 27th of October, 2010. 250 acres was given for Rs. 15 per square metre or Rs. 60,000 rupees per acre, whereas the then notified value of land was Rs. 50 lakh per acre. So, land costing Rs. 125 crores then was given at a throwaway price of one and a half crore,” he alleged.

“Gir Lions Sanctuary is also an eco-sensitive zone, where commercial activity, resorts, mining are not allowed, there are Supreme Court directions. And under the Supreme Court directions, there Gujarat Government itself had come out with its first notification banning any such activity in a radius of 2 kilometers on 25th June, 2009,” he said.

“Now, the interesting part is that, in the intervening period between then and the second amended notification, which was done with the clear purpose to circumvent the law, procedures and notification to allow this company widen its resort to go ahead with its project. Under that time, the radius was reduced from two kilometer of the eco-sensitive zone to one kilometer on 1st July, 2015.

“The permission was also given to purchase 177 acres of agricultural land to the same company. And this land which was agricultural land could not have been purchased by non-agriculturists but was allowed to be purchased,” he said.

Sharma alleged, “There cannot be a more brazen of case of violation of laws, nepotism, conflict of interest and plundering of public land, misuse of agricultural land. The land was allotted without any auction.”

He sought to know whether the Prime Minister was aware that the allocation of 250 acres of public land next to the Gir Lions Sanctuary was made. “The Prime Minister should tell us whether this allocation was in public interest and in conformity with the laws, regulations and established procedures,” said Sharma.

Reports suggest a company run by business associates of Anandiben’s daughter reportedly owns 400 acres, of which 250 acre was allotted to the company purportedly at an official rate of Rs 15 per square metre. (ANI)