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Cong sniffs land scam against minister & family

Bhopal: The state Congress on Monday accused minister Harsh Singh’s son — who is chairman of Satna town council — of getting the administration to acquire his family land at over four times the market price to expand a bus-stop.
PCC chief spokesman K K Mishra alleged that the 2,720 sq-feet plot is owned by the minister’s wife Madhavi Singh and that it was acquired by the district administration in Satna for the expansion of a bus stand in July last year at the behest of his son Vikram Singh. The plot is worth Rs 2,600 per sq feet under collector’s guidelines but was acquired by the district administration at an “exorbitant rate of Rs 11,000 per sq feet”, the party alleged, pointing out that a cheque of Rs 27,90,892 was issued to Madhavi Singh. Her husband is minister of state for water resources.

“The bus stand in Rampur is on the Satna-Rewa Road. It was built after the district administration allotted land on March 1, 1969. Adjoining the bus stand is agricultural land,” Mishra said. “On March 22 last year, the town council passed a resolution to expand the bus stand. The chairman of the council is none other than minister Harsh Singh’s son Vikram Singh. The resolution asked for acquisition of land adjoining the bus stand at the collector’s guideline rate.”

But while the collector rate was Rs 2,600 per sq ft, the land was acquired by the district administration at Rs 11,000 per sqft, Mishra alleged. “Before acquisition, the government has to float a tender seeking information on the land, including its measurement, whether it is agricultural or commercial, the location, nearest highway etc. A lot of forms need to be submitted. All through the process, the minister’s wife’s name did not surface until the cheque was issued in her name,” the PCC leader said.

Mishra accused Harsh and Vikram of misusing their position in the land deal. “The minister and his son have openly challenged the law and indulged in corruption. The Congress demands that chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who claims to have zero tolerance for corruption, order a probe into the irregularity by either the economic offences wing or Lokayukta and ask for registration of an FIR,” Mishra said.

The minister was in his constituency in Rampur Baghelan. Since he suffered a brain haemorrhage in October last year, he found it difficult to speak to TOI. Vikram said, “We are ready for any probe. I am the fourth generation in the family in politics. There has never been any corruption allegation against us. We have taken permission from the commission and the registrar. We wrote a letter for fixing the rate and that was done. All the land around that area (bus-stand) belongs to our family. If the bus stand has to be expanded then land will have to be acquired from us.”

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