FIR against Ashok Gehlot, 3 others in land grab case
JAIPUR: The police have registered a case of cheating against former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot for alleged irregularities in the allotment of land to the Jaipur-based Soni Hospital. Former industries minister Chandrabhan, Soni Hospital owner Dr Vimal Soni and IAS officer Nihal Chand Goyal were also made accused in this case.
On October 1 an additional chief metropolitan magistrate had directed the Gandhi Nagar police station to register an FIR in the case. The order came on a complaint filed by one Suresh Chand Sharma who alleged that Dr Soni, in connivance with the other accused, grabbed land worth Rs 31 crore for just Rs 6.11 crore.
“We’ve received the court order and lodged a case under various sections of the IPC against the former CM and others late on Tuesday,” Bhanwar Lal, station house officer, Gandhi Nagar police station, said on Wednesday. “The sections include 420 (cheating), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or an agent), 467 (forgery of valuable security, etc), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using a forged document or electronic record as genuine) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy).”
He said the case would be investigated by the CID-CB since the matter was related to public representatives. “We’ve already sent the FIR to the CID-CB for further probe,” Lal said.
According to the complainant, the Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) had reserved 2.3 acres of land for a trauma hospital. The JDA had also constructed a building area of 20,996 sq ft at a cost of nearly Rs 1.47 crore in 1997. After this construction, it was decided the hospital would be handed over to the Sawai Man Singh Hospital. On March 31, 1997 it was handed over to the health department. By August 2001 the PWD had incurred a total expenditure of Rs 5.91 crore on the building’s completion.
“As per the complaint, Dr Soni, in connivance with then minister Chandrabhan, who was holding the industry and power portfolio, hatched a conspiracy to take over the land and the building,” said a police officer quoting the FIR. “Accordingly, on March 8, 2001, it was decided at a board of directors’ meeting that since the state government was lacking money to run the hospital, it should be handed over to the private sector. The meeting was presided over by chief minister Ashok Gehlot. Later it was decided the land and the hospital be brought under the Sawai Man Singh Hospital from the medical and health department, and then auctioned.”
It was alleged that the property’s transfer to the Sawai Man Singh Hospital was illegal — since, according to the rules, the land and the building should have reverted to the JDA if the hospital could not be constructed within the stipulated two years.
“It was also stated in the FIR that precious land worth Rs 31 crore and the building costing Rs 5.91 crore was given to Soni Hospital Ltd for just Rs 6.11 crore,” the officer said. “The company called Soni Hospital Ltd was formed just on May 22, 2002, while the last date for filing tender was May 27.”
Recently, Soni Hospital entered into a Rs 123 crore deal to transfer the property.