Land Grab Raises Political Hackles

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Action awaited Politicians demand enquiry into the land grab issue
Action awaited Politicians demand enquiry into the land grab issue

A Tehelka investigation (Delhi BJP leader lays siege on public land 11 July 2015) laid bare a land grab case of massive proportions in which it went on to show how Delhi BJP leader Braham Singh, his brother Bir Singh (municipal councillor, Madanpur Khadar) and Niranjan Singh (personal secretary to Congress leader Sachin Pilot) have illegally acquired vast stretches of land which rightfully belongs to DDA ( Delhi Developement Authority) and Delhi government. The occupied areas of land under question are located in Madanpur Khadar Extension, Kotla Mahigram, Radha Krishna Vihar and Abul Fazal Enclave. The estimated cost of the land  is around Rs 2,000 crore.

The investigation has brought the issue to the knowledge of government officials and politicians across party lines who are now demanding a serious probe into the matter.

Congress leader Ajay Maken has demanded a court enquiry to look into the matter. He tells Tehelka, “It is a serious issue when politicians misuse their powers for their own benefit. Justice needs to be done. Action should be taken against these politicians who are grabbing government land. We will raise this issue as it is a matter of concern for the government and I demand a court enquiry on this big fraud.”

Raghav Chadha, official spokesperson for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has severely criticised the bjp for the actions of its elected representatives. “This shows the real face of the BJP. On the one hand you have AAP and its government which is in constant dialogue with the DDA and the Ministry of Urban Development for procuring land for hospitals and educational institutions, while on the other, elected representatives of the BJP have illegally occupied acres and acres of government land for their personal enrichiment. Therefore, an enquiry must be initiated against all the accused BJP leaders and their aides,” he says.

Other leaders of AAP have also come out strongly against the BJP. AAP leader Dilip Pandey tells Tehelka, “Whether it is a politician or a celebrity, nobody has the right to lay siege on government land. We are not only demanding action against the encroachers, but also want the DDA and other wings of the Delhi government to take back possession of the land.”

Meanwhile, the Anti Corruption Branch (ACB) has also taken steps to bring those involved in the scam to justice. “I have ordered an enquiry enrichinto the case. Justice will be delivered and nobody is going to be spared,” says Chief of the ACB, SS Yadav.

The DDA also seems to have woken up to finally look into an issue which should have been addressed long back. A DDA officer requesting anonymity tells Tehelka: “Earlier reports clearly reveal the fact that the land under question belongs to the DDA. We are also demanding action against the illegal occupants and soon an action plan will be set into motion in order to take back possession.” However, activist Arun Rai claims that it is precisely because of the involvement of DDA officials that the encroachment has taken place.

Amidst such demands for probe and enquiry, representatives of the BJP have decided to conveniently overlook the seriousness of the matter. Despite of the findings from the investigation, some like Delhi BJP president Satish Upadhyaya, claim to be clueless about the ‘land grab’, “I am not aware about the case and don’t know anything in this regard,” he says. Meanwhile, BJP leader Rajiv Babbar is quick to wash his hands of the issue, “If there is any ‘hanky-panky’, the party is not responsible for it. We do not support anyone who is into illegal activities. The party is not going to stand by such people who are bent on tarnishing its public image,” he says.

It only remains to be seen now whether such declarations to reclaim land, which rightfully belongs to the public, are backed with sincere conviction.

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