June 10, 2016

India: Land allotments to RSS bodies during during NDA-I

The Times of India

Land to RSS bodies: Ex-secy quits review panel
Dipak K Dash | TNN | Jun 3, 2016, 06.26 AM IST
New Delhi: A former urban development secretary has recused himself from a committee that was set up by the government to review the cancellation of land allotments to about two dozen religious, social and cultural organisations affiliated to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) when the UPA was in power.

NDA government had made these allotments in its first stint at the Centre. TOI has learnt that former urban development secretary M Ramachandran has withdrawn himself just before the panel headed by former road transport secretary L K Joshi was about to write down the report. While Ramachandran claimed it was personal decision, TOI has learnt that the UPA decision to cancel the allotment was taken when Ramachandran was the secretary. The panel was originally scheduled to submit its report by March 2016, but later it was extended to May. Now it will take more time as a new member replacing Ramachandran will need to go through the proceedings.

According to government records, the UPA government had cancelled the allotments based on recommendation of an one-member panel headed by a retired IAS Yogesh Chandra in 2004.

It's learnt that the L K Joshi panel had almost concluded that the cancellation of land allotment by UPA was not right. If the panel comes out with such a report, the ministry is likely to seek revocation of the cancellation by the court where a case is pending on the issue.

Government reports show that out of the 32 allotments made during NDA-I, 22 were made to RSS-affiliated or backed outfits including Samarth Shiksha Samiti, Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, Sewa Bharti and Swadeshi Jagran Foundation. Land and development office had ordered cancellation of 29 allotments. In 23 of these cases, the lessees had gone in appeal against the cancellation and the allotments had been surrendered in the other six cases.