Ownership of 13 govt plots in Asola transferred illegally
“The L-G has directed the Vigilance department to refer this matter to the CBI” — Statement by the L-G’s office “Specific cases are being looked into to see the role of revenue department staff. All gram sabha land is being mapped” — KAILASH GAHLOT, Delhi revenue minister
Officials in Delhi allegedly fudged land records using fake court orders to transfer at least 30 acres of prime government property, worth over ~600 crores, to private individuals.
In what could be one of the biggest land scams in the national Capital, at least three of these properties in south Delhi’s Asola village were then sold at less than one-twentieth of their market rates, according to papers accessed by Hindustan Times.
The scam, uncovered over the last one year, has prompted Delhi’s Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal to ask the Central Bureau of Investigation to take up the case.
Last week, Baijal also asked the Delhi government’s revenue department to submit case details of 13 plots whose records have allegedly been tampered with. The city’s divisional commissioner Manisha Saxena has ordered magistrates across the city to check all government land records for similar cases of forgery.
HT has examined records of all 13 properties in question. The land in each case belonged to the gram sabha and came under the Delhi government. It was transferred using non-existent court orders to alter the Khatauni and Khasra Girdawari (KG) documents in the sub-divisional magistrate’s office. A Khatauni is a government record showing the land’s original owner and transfer details, if any. A KG is a bi-annual inspection report by revenue officers to check the land’s ownership and current usage.
Parts of a detailed canvas map, dating back to 1908 – the only physical representation of how land in Asola is distributed – were slashed , perhaps by the perpetrators of the scam. The map is stored in the sub-divisional magistrate’s office in Saket.
An acre of land in Asola costs nearly ~20 crore, according to local property dealers. Copies of sale deeds with HT show that in three cases, land was sold for less than ~1 crore per acre — even lower than the Asola circle rate, which is illegal.
Delhi revenue minister Kailash Gahlot confirmed on Sunday that land records had been tampered with. “Specific cases are being looked into to see the role of revenue department staff. All gram sabha land is being mapped,” he said.
The scam came to light when the government’s annual survey of property in 2016 revealed that plot (Khasra) number 1354 — a 2-acre land in Asola worth over ~40 crore — was transferred and sold for just ~2 crore the previous year.
The Khatauni record of the plot showed the land was transferred to one Mahesh under court order 144/RA/85 in December 1986. When officials checked the KG records, Mahesh was mentioned as the owner only since April 2015. The records prior to 2015 showed that the land belonged to the gram sabha.