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Friday, May 18, 2001

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Raids on MLA land grabber, friends continue

By Sujay Mehdudia


The CBI raids on the premises of the Congress(I) MLA, Mr. Sishpal, and some of his close associates and police officers could well be described as ``a delayed but well-directed'' action. The credit for taking on the land mafia, who did not even spare the historical Tughlaqabad Fort in South Delhi, should go to none other than the Union Urban Development Minister, Mr. Jagmohan.

It is no secret that Mr. Sishpal's name had figured prominently in reports of three inquiry committees set up by the Delhi Government and the Assembly to probe the illegal land grab and encroachment in and around the Tughlaqabad Fort.

While the Congress(I) has preferred to take cover behind the fact that Mr. Sishpal's name does not figure in the Madan Jha Committee report, it has preferred to ignore the three other inquiry reports including that of House Committee and one by the Joint Commissioner, Special Task Force, which have clearly named Mr. Sishpal as main culprit.

No thought is also being given to the fact that a person who till only 1990 was a chowkidar with the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) has suddenly become not only a big property dealer but a rich and influential person. The fact that Mr. Sishpal has come be identified with the land mafia of the area cannot be brushed aside. Along with him, the name of another leader and presently BJP Mehrauli district president, Mr. Ramesh Bidhuri, had figured prominently.

Significantly, the STF inquiry report had stated that the name of local MLA, Mr. Sishpal had been linked with having sold land in Chand Colony opposite village pond and in Tughlakabad Extension. His name had also figured as per revenue records with having grabbed the government land on Khasra No. 410 in Tughlakabad Extension.

Similarly, the inquiry committee headed by the Development Commissioner, Mr. D. S. Negi, had also revealed Mr. Sishpal's name as one of the major illegal occupants of Khasra No. 318 in Pul Pahladpur where flats had been constructed.

On the other hand, the House Committee report had found the complaint against Mr. Sishpal as correct. The complaint made by another MLA, Mr. Jai Bhagwan, had stated that Mr. Sishpal was in unauthorised occupation of Central Government land measuring two bighas in Tughlakabad village belonging to Khasra No. 1735/410. The House Committee had accused Mr. Sishpal of hiding evidence relating to this particular land and not producing the correct documents.

The evidence by revenue officials had also clearly established that the MLA was in possession of the land despite denying it. It had sought immediate removal of encroachments by initiating penal action.

Although these reports were submitted nearly four years ago it was Mr. Jagmohan who decided to take on these land grabbers and referred the case to the CBI for inquiry and action in November. In fact, the CBI, it is learnt, had been investigating the case for the past four to five months and had made a number of inquiries before moving against the culprits. Mr.Sishpal is said to be the brain behind this massive encroachment exercise along with Subhash Pehalwan, whose name has prominently figured with selling government land in Subhash Colony.

The CBI action is being termed as timely as Mr. Jagmohan along with the ASI has prepared a grand plan for beautification of the area and make it a green lung, a move which has been appreciated. The move is also expected to act as a deterrent to the land mafia.

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