Amethi, Aug 26: A revenue court on Wednesday ordered return of the land sold to Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust by an industrial house to Uttar Pradesh State Industrial Development Corporation (UPSIDC).
The order passed by sub-divisional magistrate, Gauriganj, Vandita Srivastava comes days after Union Minister Smriti Irani questioned the sale of the land to the Trust and had accused the Gandhi family of "land-grabbing" .
The land of Kauhar village already belonged to UPSIDC which was illegally transferred in the name of the Trust, Srivastava said.
Asked about the order, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi said the Trust "has explained itself very very clearly". "It runs a self-help group system that is the largest in Uttar Pradesh.
They have created SHGs for over 1.4 million women. They have transformed lives of millions and millions of women there. So Mrs Irani should go into the details of what work they have done and exactly what they are doing before she says anything," he told reporters in Jammu.
Counsel Uma Shanker Pandey, who has been representing the farmers, said the regional manager of UPSIDC had written a letter to Amethi district magistrate which stated that as the land was given on lease to the company, the auction process should be cancelled and it should be returned to UPSIDC.
Pandey said that on the basis of that letter, the DM lodged a complaint of "correction of paper". He said in the order issued in the case 'UPSIDC versus Samrat Bicycle' given today, it has been directed that the allotment of land in the name of the company should be cancelled and it should be returned to UPSIDC.
Pandey said that in the year 1983, 65 acres of land belonging to farmers was acquired in Kauhar village and given to Samrat bicycle on lease to set up a manufacturing plant.
But the company closed down and to repay the loan taken by it from different financial institutions, it auctioned the land, which was taken on 90 years lease.
He alleged that through a fake 'khatauni' (land record), the company claimed to be the owner of the land and had said that the amount raised from the auction should be adjusted against the repayment of debts. Pandey said the Trust bought the land through auction and the farmers came to know about it when "auction change" was filed on February 27.