Various contradictory orders of Gurugram collectors and “special interest” shown by the Haryana government on the pleas of builders regarding the ownership right of 464 acres of land worth Rs 3,000 cr in Gwal Pahari area in the district have hinted at another land scam benefitting a whole lot of builders and some VVIPs too.
Located some 2.9 km away from Gurugram on the road to Faridabad, secure in the foothills of Aravali range, the disputed land of Gwal Pahari shares its borders with New Delhi and Faridabad and is in possession of several developers, realtors and VIPs including retired judges, former Union ministers, who own farmhouses in the area. Municipal Corporation, Gurgaon (MCG), had become the owner of the land after the village came under its jurisdiction in March 2010.
The land under dispute is Shamilat Deh, the village common land on which landowners of the village had been demanding ownership title on a pro-rata basis since 1980. One order passed by the then Gurugram collector in 1989 allowed the plea, which was subsequently overturned in appeal. However, after several rounds of litigation, Punjab and Haryana high court in February 2010 restituted the case back to 1989 and ordered the collector to decide the mutation afresh.
The problem had aggravated after residents entered into an agreement with various colonizing realtors for sale of land because of realty boom in the area despite dispute over land ownership not yet settled. The controversies regarding mutation of various land deals related to the land has led to multiple litigation in various courts.
Investigations revealed that the MCG had not challenged the order of then financial commissioner (FC) Y S Malik during his short tenure from August 1 to September 18, 2014. Malik had upheld ownership of private persons against the interests of MCG.
Documents further revealed how then Gurugram collector T L Satyapraksh, who had once refused to accept ownership title of builders villagers in the disputed land and upheld his predecessor Shekhar Vidyarthi’s orders, almost took a U-turn and upheld the mutation of controversial land in favour of a builder after receiving reference from the chief secretary and the chief minister.
MCG commissioner V Umashankar says that he is aware of the entire issue and working in the best interest of MCG to protect the title of the land. He further stated that there was no need to challenge Malik’s order because he had highlighted some procedural infirmities and fault of revenue officials in the previous mutation (3110) regarding MCG’s ownership. “Challenging Malik’s order would further complicate the issue. Now we have new mutation (3249) in our favour and would defend our ownership. For me, the ownership right of MCG is more important and mutation is secondary issue. I’m doing my best to protect this land, which belongs to MCG,” Umashankar added.