Big B’s land allotment fraudulent: Court

Faizabad, June 1 :

A court here today cancelled the allotment of state-owned farm land to Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan in an Uttar Pradesh village by the Mulayam Singh Yadav government, calling it “an act of forgery.”

Faizabad Additional Commissioner Vidya Sagar Prasad ruled that entry in the land records declaring Bachchan as the owner of the particular plot of land in Daulatpur village in Barabanki district, 35 km from Lucknow, was “tampered and forged.” The court also ruled that Bachchan was “not a farmer” as he had claimed.

The star, a friend of former chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, had received 3 ‘bighas’ of land in the village from the government as largesse.

Today’s order shows the allotment was backdated. According to government advocate Surendra Raje, who argued the case before the land revenue court here, apparently this was done to enable Amitabh to acquire the status of a ‘farmer’ without which a huge farmland he bought in Pune could not be transferred in his name under the Maharastra land laws.

Political circles here maintain that the entire exercise was carried out to obviously circumvent rules that don’t permit ownership of farmland by anyone other than a farmer. However, it was a query by Pune collector in March 2006 to the Barabanki district magistrate seeking authentication of the Uttar Pradesh testimonial that opened the Pandora’s box.

Then Barabanki DM Ashish Goel cancelled the allotment in March 2006. Goel was then given the marching order. Ram Shankar Sahu, who succeeded him, agreed to sign on the dotted line. However, since Goel’s objections had become a part of the official records that could not be destroyed.

Since this did not end Bachchan’s woes, he sought a review of the DM’s order by the commissioner, hoping to get the land restored in his name. But with polls announced and bureaucratic changes affected by the Election Commission, Bachchan could not have his way.