Haryana: Ex-SDM remanded for allocating excess land to ineligible people

A Fatehabad court on Friday sent former Subdivision Magistrate (SDM) Satbir Singh Jangu to remand for allegedly allocating surplus land to ineligible people in the district’s Bhundra village in 2018.

Jangu, a retired civil servant, was arrested on Thursday. Haryana Vigilance Bureau DSP Rakesh Malik said the bureau started investigating the matter in 2018 after receiving the information from sources.

“According to the Haryana Utilization Surplus and other Areas Scheme, 1976, the government can acquire surplus agricultural land from any individual if he owns more prescribed land. No less than 28 acres of land owned by a family in Bhundra village has been declared surplus. The land was to be distributed to those who resided in the village before 1991. Beneficiaries were not to have five acres or more than five acres of land,” Malik said.

The 28 acres of surplus land were divided among nine people. It is alleged that Jangu who at the time was the SDM (surplus) in Fatehabad gave land to ineligible people including three of them who were not even residents of Bhundra village. Jagdish Chander, a Patwari, was also arrested and is in pre-trial detention. According to sources, vigilance goes during the period of pre-trial detention to try to find out if transactions have taken place between the defendant and the beneficiaries.

According to a complaint lodged with vigilance, the 28-acre land was given to the beneficiaries for less than Rs 20,000 while its actual cost is Rs 11 crore. After investigation, the vigilance office registered an FIR against 11 people, including the former SDM and the patwari for cheating and other provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1998.

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