Congress demands probe into land owned by Prashant Bhushan’s trust in Himachal Pradesh

New Delhi/ Shimla: Days after they launched a new political party, former activists Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal warned that they would “expose” two powerful people for corruption. The first was Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi. The second is to be outed, they say, on Tuesday, October 16.

The Congress is striking back. It has asked for an inquiry into how a tea plantation in Himachal Pradesh was sold to Mr Bhushan two years ago in alleged violations of local laws. Land in Himachal cannot be owned by non-residents.

Rajiv Shukla of the Congress says, “This land was worth 7-8 crores but was given to him (Bhushan) for a few lakhs.”

Mr Bhushan bought 4.68 hectares of land for the construction of an educational institution on
Feb 2, 2010.

In a statement to NDTV, Mr Bhushan countered that his educational society was given permission by the BJP government in Himachal to buy 12 acres of land of a tea garden in disuse “for setting up an institute of public policy and a small school and children’s learning centre.” He added that the institute has begun functioning and this educational trust is “a purely charitable educational public interest institution for which the society has not been given anything by the government except permission to buy the land, which is perfectly in accordance with the law.”

Reacting to the controversy, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said the “government should not be dragged in the differences between two people. Mr Bhushan applied for land. All the formalities were done. He said he would use it for education trust. Shimla media knows that central team has inspected the place. I don’t know what is the need to fight and argue so much.”

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