Congress comes out in defence of Shanti Dhariwal

The Congress unit in Rajasthan today came out together to rubbish allegations of alleged irregularities in a land deed that has engulfed former Congress urban development minister Shanti Dhariwal.

Both state PCC president Sachin Pilot and former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot were present to support Dhariwal, who put out his version of the story in front of the media today.

The Rajasthan Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) probing the land scam has summoned Dhariwal for questioning in the case, which has dented the image of the  Congress in the state.

Dhariwal faces arrest over alleged illegal transfer of a piece of land to a construction company as he was the minister for urban development in the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government in 2011.

The ACB had lodged an FIR on December 3, 2014 in the land scam in which the Gehlot government in 2011 reversed a decision of the first Raje government in 2005 against giving a single deed to the firm, Ganpati Constructions, for three khasras of agriculture land in Jaipur’s Jagatpura area.

The 28 bigha piece of land registered for use by a housing society Rajendra Griha Nirman Shakari Samiti, pegged at over Rs 300 crore, was reportedly transferred to Ganpati Construction company through a single land deed, only for a nominal amount by government officials illegally.

The company owner Shailendra Garg is already in jail. ACB has already arrested RAS officer Nishkam Diwakar— who has been sent to 14-day judicial custody.

The agency is also on the lookout for G S Sandhu, the former principal secretary in the urban housing development department.

Sandhu retired a few days back in Delhi.

ACB sources say  the decision to transfer the society deed to the firm was allegedly taken at the level of former UDH minister Shanti Dhariwal.

Dhariwal, today gave out all the facts, saying he was ready to face the ACB’s questioning and termed it to be a political vendetta. He said he is ready to face the probe on Oct 16 as he is getting all the papers and documents ready. Even if he is not ready he will definitely meet the ACB officials on Oct 16 as he had nothing to hide.

Dhariwal said the BJP government is deliberately hiding the facts and spreading lies about the land saying it is worth Rs 300 crore and is government owned.

He said in reality it was a private land and the government has not suffered any financial losses due to the land deal. In fact, the regularization of the land brought in Rs 44,58,442 and also Jaipur Development Authority acquired 14790. 50 varg guz land without giving any compensation in return. This was because the land deal made was of 27301 varg guz where as the total land was 41092 varg guz.

Both Gehlot And Pilot said there have been no sincere efforts to investigate the Rs 45,000 crore mining scam unearthed in the state, which would not have been possible without the tacit approval of higher ups in the government, how can they initiate enquiry and call for arrest for scams which have been committed at the administrative level.

The state Congress leaders would be meeting Central Vigilance Commissioner tomorrow in Delhi to urge for proper probe in the mining scam.  

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