Smriti Irani's husband a share-holder in firm accused of land grabbing; Congress seeks probe

The land was allegedly grabbed  while a fenced boundary was being constructed around five acres of land purchased by the hospitality group of which Zubin Irani is a director.

Published: 05th May 2017 02:29 PM  |   Last Updated: 05th May 2017 06:15 PM   |  A+A-

Union Minister Smriti Irani's husband Zubin Irani has been accused of land grabbing by a primary school headmaster. (File |PTI)

By Express News Service

BHOPAL: The Umaria district administration has instituted a probe into allegations by a primary school headmaster that a company having union minister Smriti Irani's husband, Zubin Irani as a shareholder has allegedly grabbed a part of the school’s land.  

The administration in Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh (MP) has ordered a probe following allegations by headmaster Janki Prasad Tiwari, that the company had grabbed the land in Kuchwahi village, close to Bandhavgarh National Park.

"We've begun a probe and also received a letter from union minister Smriti Irani, in which she has asked us to conduct an independent probe as her husband's name has been unnecessarily dragged in the matter. It is not her husband, but the company in which he is a shareholder which purchased the land in 2016. Prima facie, no school land has been grabbed or encroached. The probe is underway and its outcome will be known in four to five days," Umaria district collector Abhishek Singh told the New Indian Express on Friday.

The headmaster of the school at Kuchvahi village near the Bandhavgarh National Park has also questioned the purchase of five acres of land, which as per him was owned by one Hazari Bani, who is untraceable since the last few years.

The land was subsequently transferred in one Jaikaran Bani’s name, and subsequently purchased by one Ramsumer Shukla through forgery, before selling it to Zubin Irani’s group, the headmaster has alleged.

While the land was being fenced, part of the school land, despite Tiwari’s objection, was also fenced, Tiwari added.

However, sub divisional magistrate (SDM) JP Yadav, who is heading the probe has said prima facie no irregularity was detected during the scrutiny of relevant land records starting from the 1950s. “We’ll also conduct on spot physical verification of the land as part of the probe,” said Yadav.

Meanwhile, the opposition Congress’ national head of communications, Randeep Surjewala, demanded in New Delhi that the MP government conduct a thorough probe into the incident.

Union minister Smriti Irani had recently spent a few days with family at the Bandhavgarh National Park, which is situated close to the land under scrutiny in Umaria district.

News agency PTI reported that the Congress on Thursday sought a probe into the alleged land grabbing by Zubin Irani, saying the state should fulfil its "rajdharma" in acting against him.

AICC incharge of communications department Randeep Surjewala said Irani, who has been involved in a row over her assets and qualifications, should alongwith her husband help in accomplishing that "rajdharma" obligation of the state.

"We have seen media reports on alleged land grabbing by Union Minister Smriti Irani's husband. The land belonged to the government. If there is any truth, it is unfortunate and the Madhya Pradesh government should order a thorough probe into it," he told reporters here.

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