Delhi Assembly Petitions Committee seeks files related to evacuee land transfer complaint against IAS officer
The Delhi Legislative Assembly secretariat has written to the chief secretary to direct Divisional Commissioner Ashwini Kumar to provide files related to a complaint against IAS officer Ashish More in connection with evacuee land transfer.
It also sought both Kumar and More's appearance before the Petitions Committee on June 15.
A complaint against More, related to alleged irregularities in the transfer of 54 bihgas of land with a current market value of around Rs 50 crore, was referred to the Delhi Assembly's Committee on Petitions by the House Speaker.
It was alleged in the complaint that More, while serving as District Magistrate (North) had decided two appeals under the Delhi Land Reforms Act in April and December 2013, which were allegedly related to land falling under ''Muhafiz Jaydad'' (evacuee property) and was the custodian land belonging to the central government.
The Delhi Assembly secretariat on June 9 wrote to the chief secretary on the directions of the chairperson of the Petitions Committee, requesting him to issue directions to the divisional commissioner, Revenue Department, to submit the ''requisite documents'' by June 12.
It sought from the chief secretary to further direct the divisional commissioner to appear before the Committee on the next date of its sitting.
Earlier, the Petitions Committee had summoned the divisional commissioner and More, who is currently serving as staff officer of the chief secretary, for a hearing on June 7, but they had not turned up in the meeting.
''I am also directed by the Chairperson, Committee on Petitions to inform you that the sitting of the Committee was held on 07.06.2023 to discuss the issues regarding the complaint of irregularities in the transfer of land by Ashish More, IAS, while posted as DM/Collecter, North in the year 2013 in respect of Government/Custodian land in village Jhangola in North District,'' said Delhi Assembly secretariat Deputy secretary Sunil Dutt in a communication to the chief secretary.
The divisional commissioner did not appear in the meeting and instead a communication was received from his office on June 7 stating that ''since the issues before the Committee pertain to the subject matter of ''land'' the same is not under the jurisdiction the Committee and that since the complaint seeks disciplinary action against an officer, the use is outside the purview of the Committee, in light of the GNCTD (Amendment) Ordinance, 2023,'' it said.
''Committee has taken serious note on the conduct of the Divisional Commissioner and expresses its deep displeasure at the blatant disregard of the proceedings of the Committee by the Revenue Department,'' said the Assembly secretariat communication.
The Committee on Petitions is not seeking to take any disciplinary action against the said officer and as it will only make recommendations to the Legislative Assembly, and it will be up to the Legislative Assembly to either adopt the report or reject the report, it said.
''The Committee is only requesting the revenue records so that if any corruption had happened in the alleged illegal transfer of government land, it should be duly reported to the Legislative Assembly,'' the communication said.
It cited Supreme Court rulings to assert that ''it is abundantly clear that not only does the Committee have the jurisdiction to take cognisance of the above-mentioned complaint and seek assistance of the Divisional Commissioner regarding the same but also that it is incumbent on Divisional Commissioner to assist the Committee in this regard.'' It was also stated by the Assembly secretariat that under the list of ''transferred subject'' specified by the Constitution, the revenue department and the divisional commissioner report to the Revenue minister of the Delhi government.
The committee has sought to emphasise the complaint against More, saying five sub-divisional magistrates (SDMs) and one additional district magistrate (ADM) were suspended for illegal transfer of evacuee land in Jhangola to private entities between 2015 and 2021.
The AAP dispensation had removed More from the post of services secretary, immediately after being given control over services matters including transfer and posting of Delhi government officers, by a Supreme Court verdict on May 11.
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