Land controversy a threat to Bhushan's anti-graft credential

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Old 21-Apr-2011
Land controversy a threat to Bhushan's anti-graft credential

New Delhi: Former federal minister Shanti Bhushan, who was nominated as co-chairman of the committee entrusted with drafting a stringent anti-corruption law, is embroiled in a fresh controversy surrounding land allotment.

The Indian Express Wednesday reported that Bhushan and his lawyer son Jayant Bhushan were given farmhouse land measuring 10,000 square metres each in Noida by the Uttar Pradesh government in 2009.

The controversy follows the fake CD in which Bhushan was allegedly heard talking about fixing a judge by offering him Rs40 million (Dh3.26 million).

Bhushan's elder son Prashant Bhushan is also a civil society representative in the 10-member joint committee set up to draft the Lokpal Bill.

Silencing critics

The Bhushans were among the 100 recipients of plots valued at Rs35 million each by the Uttar Pradesh government. There was no draw of lots and the plots were allotted allegedly to silence critics of state Chief Minister Mayawati.

Jayant appeared against the state government in the case relating to installation of statues in a Noida park.

"The report in the Indian Express this morning mischievously suggests that Jayant Bhushan and I have taken two farm plots from Mayawati from her discretionary quota," Bhushan said.

"This is also a part of the malicious campaign by those corrupt, influential people who are afraid that my presence in the drafting committee may result in a tough law against corruption in the form of a Lokpal Bill... so far, possession has not been delivered, nor [has the] lease deal [been] executed... if there has been any arbitrariness in the allotment of the plots, the allotments should be cancelled and we would certainly not challenge the cancellation," he added.

The land allotment issue is pending in the Allahabad High Court after former Uttar Pradesh additional solicitor-general Vikas Singh, who was also allotted the farmhouse plot, filed a case challenging the arbitrary allotment at a rate much lower than the prevailing market price.

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