In a setback to the Nehru-Gandhi family-controlled Rajiv Gandhi Trust, a revenue court on Wednesday termed the transfer of ownership of 65 acres of land at Amethi, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s constituency, to the Trust as illegal.
The court also ordered that the land be returned to its original owner, the Uttar Pradesh State Industrial Development Corporation (UPSIDC).
A few days ago, HRD Minister Smriti Irani had stated that the Trust had “illegally” taken over farmers’ land, which had been acquired by the UPSIDC for setting up a bicycle manufacturing plant.
The sub-divisional magistrate of Gauriganj, the headquarters of Amethi district, Vandita Srivastava in her order said that the land was given on lease to a private company for setting up a bicycle manufacturing plant.
The company, which failed to set up the plant, later got the land mutated in its favour through fake documents. Later a court ordered auction of the land to repay the loans taken by the company from the banks. The Trust had bought the land through auction for a little over Rs 20 crore.
The court on Wednesday ruled that the company got the mutation done in its favour illegally. The company was not the owner of the land and hence it could not have been auctioned to repay the loans taken by it.
Social activist Uma Shankar Pandey, who brought the matter in the public domain, had said that the lessee company “fraudulently” got the ownership of the land transferred in its name.
Congress sources here said the Trust would seek legal opinion to decide its next course of action. The matter had acquired political overtones after Smriti’s “land grab” charge against the Congress. State BJP in-charge Om Mathur welcomed the verdict and said that the allegations had been proved right.