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Land encroachment by ex-MLA: FIR lodged on court's direction

Sunday, 11 May 2014 - 9:18am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

A Delhi court has ordered lodging of a criminal case against a former MLA for allegedly encroaching land and evading tax.

Special CBI judge Narottam Kaushal said a cognisable offence is made out from the complaint filed by an RTI activist, and directed that an officer not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Delhi Police shall examine the allegations of land encroachment and other illegalities against Kanwar Karan Singh, a former MLA from Model Town.

When a cognisable offence is made out from allegations set out in the complaint, "I am of the considered opinion that Officer In-charge, PS-ACB (police station, Anti Corruption Branch) has no reason not to register the FIR and investigate the same", the judge said. "It is accordingly directed that an FIR be registered on the complaint dated April 23, 2013 submitted to the SHO, PS-ACB by the present complainant and the matter be investigated, against known/unknown persons. It is also directed that the matter be got investigated by officer not below the rank of ACP," he said.

The court order came on a complaint filed by RTI activist Vivek Garg, who had alleged that the then MLA was running a petrol pump in North West Delhi on an encroached piece of government land worth Rs 50 crore and evaded water and house taxes worth crores of rupees, the money due to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and Delhi Development Authority (DDA).

According to sources, the ACB has lodged the FIR in the matter on the court's direction. However, they refused to disclose the name of the persons who have been made accused. The complainant has sought the court's directions to police for registration of a case against Singh, who was an MLA from 1998 till 2013, on charges of cheating, forgery of documents, criminal conspiracy, breach of trust by public servant and various other provisions of the Indian Penal Code, besides Prevention of Corruption Act.

The complainant had alleged that the MLA had disclosed to the Election Commission in 2008 that he was running a petrol pump on land measuring about 1,200 square yard, out of which 500 square yard was owned by him and 700 square yard was the property of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL).

Garg alleged that on the basis of information collected from various authorities through RTI applications, he came to know that Singh does not own any land on which his petrol pump or CNG station is located.

To this, the court said, "The claim of respondent/accused (Karan Singh) to be owner of 500 square yard land is falsified by the revenue record, wherein, it is entered as ownership of the central government." "In such circumstances, the allegations by Garg that the entire 1,200 square yard land is government land encroached by Karan Singh needs to be investigated thoroughly," the court said. 

Garg had earlier alleged that the massive land encroached by the former MLA is being put to "illegal use as the same falls in green belt area and a petrol pump or a part of it cannot be operated in green belt". Garg alleged in his complaint that the RTI replies show Singh had also not paid licence fee running into lakhs of rupees for his petrol pump.

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