'May take back land allotted to Tibetans'

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said on Thursday that his government will cancel allotment of land by the previous Congress government to Tibetan refugees if the ongoing probe found ''any irregularity'' was committed.

Dhumal said the allocation of land by the Virbhadra Singh-government to exiled Tibetans "is being enquired into".

"The Virbhadra government himself amended (land) laws to favour Tibetans. The allocation of land would be cancelled, if any irregularity is found," Dhumal said.

Violating land laws

The cancellation threat comes two days after Virbhadra Singh, the union minister of micro, small and medium enterprises, slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government in Himachal Pradesh for violating land laws by giving special permission to Team Anna member and counsel Prashant Bhushan to buy property in the state.

Land to Bhushan

Dhumal said the land in Palampur town of Kangra district was allotted to Bhushan's Kumud Bhushan Educational society on his request.

Virbhadra Singh, a five-time former chief minister and Congress leader alleged that Bhushan's society had bought a tea garden that violated the Himachal Pradesh Ceiling on Land Holdings Act of 1972.

The row over the land given to Tibetans, who fled to India in 1959 with their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, is in a court since November 2010.

India had allowed Tibetans to settle in the country and form their own government in  exile.

A division bench of the Himachal Pradesh High Court has issued notice to the Tibetan government-in-exile based in Dharamsala, the central and state governments regarding the case.

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