Jaya Bachchan not to loose RS membership

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Lucknow, May22: Though the fate of the Rajya Sabha membership of cinestar Jaya Bachchan has yet to be decided but the report sent by the District Magistrate, Barabanki might give a reprieve to the Samajwadi Party MP.

Investigating officer of the case and principal secretary (Assembly) R P Pandey is yet to make a decision on the DM's report sent just before the announcement of the assembly election results but preliminary reports suggest that there was no threat to her membership.

When contacted Mr Pandey said he is yet to go through the DM's report and a verdict is expected in the first week of June.

Sources said here today that the preliminary report of the DM would have no bearing on the RS membership of Ms Bachchan.

'' The matter is sub-judice with cases pending in HC and local court over the issue hence nothing more can be said, '' sources further added.

Earlier the IO had asked the the district magistrate Barabanki to give a 'status report on the property of the SP MP and her family members in the district.

On the directive of the Election Commission(EC), Mr Pandey is to decide on the petition filed against Ms Bachchan for concealing facts about immovable property in her affidavit filed along with the nomination papers for the RS polls in 2006.

In 2005, Jaya was disqualified by the EC for holding an office of profit as chairperson of the UP Film Development Corporation.' She was re-elected to the Rajya Sabha in a bypoll held in June 2006 after the post was removed from the office of profit category.

However, a petition has been filed in the commissioner court at Faizabad and in the Allahabad High Court over the illegal transfer of government lands to Amitabh Bachchan and his family members in Barabanki.

Ms Bachchan had replied to the notice served by the EC earlier this month on the issue and the EC has asked Mr Pandey, who was the returning officer of the RS poll, to decide on merits on the complaint and the reply given by the MP.

On March 30 last, the EC gave Ms Bachchan a last chance to reply by April 16 on the charges after she failed to answer a similar notice issued on February 5, 2007.

In her reply, the SP MP had stated that the mentioned property was in purchase process when she had filed the affadavit for the RS poll and it was not registered in the Tehsildar's note book till then.

A Congress leader, Amir Haider, an advocate in neighbouring Barabanki district, had filed a petition with the EC on October 19, 2006 stating the SP MP had concealed facts about two properties in the name of her husband Amitabh Bachchan, which were purchased just a fortnight before filing the affidavit for the RS by-poll.

Mr Haider told sources here today that the reply of Ms Bachchan was confusing and it was only an effort to save her RS membership.

Ms Bachchan is in trouble for the second time since she resigned from the Upper House following the office of profit controversy. She has been charged with filing an incomplete affidavit while contesting the RS bypolls in 2006. The complaint alleges that she had not mentioned about the new pieces of land purchased by the star couple.

Amir Haider claimed that Ms Bachchan had not disclosed those two pieces of land, which were purchased in May, 2006, which tantamount to concealing facts and is, therefore, punishable under the RP Act.

The affidavit of Jaya filed on June 1, 2006 shows only one piece of land of 0.25 hectare in husband Big B's name. However, it did not mention other two pieces of land measuring 1.3 hectares and 1.5 hectares, which were purchased in the name of Amitabh at Daulatpur village of Fatehpur tehsil, Barabanki. The land mentioned in the affidavit also entered into a controversy with a petition in the High Court claiming it was a Gram Samaj (village council) land meant to be distributed among the poor and landless farmers of Dalit community.

Mr Haider said that the next date of hearing in the Commissioners court at Faizabad in the case is fixed on May 28 while the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court will take up the case in July.


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