NEW DELHI: In a setback to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, a revenue court in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday ordered the return of land that the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust purchased from an industrial house to the state government.
The order came as an embarrassment to Rahul, whom HRD Minister Smriti Irani during her recent visit to Amethi had charged with “land grabbing”.
One of the key reform Bills of Narendra Modi Government that hit the stumbling block against a Congress wall in Parliament and on which the Gandhi scion had spearheaded a campaign was the Land Acquisition Bill.
Hitting out at the Centre’s land policy, Rahul had accused it of being “a suit-boot ki sarkar”. In his last visit to Amethi, the Congress vice-president had told his farmer-voters that he and his party would bring back a “pyjama sarkar”, meaning a pro-poor dispensation which would not rob the farmers of their cultivable land.
The acquisition of 65 acres of land for a cycle manufacturing unit dates back to Rajiv’s tenure as an MP in 1983. The land, which was acquired on lease from the Uttar Pradesh State Industrial Development Corporation (UPSIDC) was subsequently sold to the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust in an auction this February, ostensibly to repay the financial liabilities of the company, Samrat Cycles. The Gauriganj Sub-Divisional Magistrate said the land belonging to the UPSIDC was illegally acquired by the Trust.