Bhopal: The Gwalior bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court has imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on former union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, his family members and the trust they run for failing to file replies to notices served to them by the court.
The notices were served to Scindia, the scion of the erstwhile royal family of Gwalior, his mother Madhavi Raje Scindia, sister Chitrangada Raje Scindia and their Kamlaraja Charitable Trust on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) alleging land grab.
The petitioner in the case has alleged that Scindia and the others sold land in Gwalior to a builder that, his lawyer said, had been declared as government land by the high court in 2006.
In April, the Gwalior bench had given Scindia and his family members four weeks time to file their replies to the court notices. On 26 June, when the respondents had failed to file their replies, the court imposed the fine of Rs 10,000 and gave the Scindias and the builder 15 more days to file the replies.
“The division bench of justices Sanjay Yadav and Vivek Agrawal imposed the fine on Jyotiraditya, his family members and Kamlaraja Charitable Trust for refusing to take notice on the PIL moved by Upendra Chaturvedi alleging illegal sale of a piece of land to a builder, despite it being declared government land by high court in 2006,” C.P. Singh counsel for petitioner (Upendra Chaturvedi) told ThePrint over telephone.
A Gwalior Municipal Corporation official told ThePrint that in 2006, nearly 15 bighas of prime land in the city’s Mahalgaon locality was sold to Narayan Builders.
The petitioner’s lawyer, Singh, alleged that the land was sold by the Scindias.
“After the Scindia family members sold the government land, the builder not only constructed a four-five storey building on it but also built a marriage garden on another portion of the land blocking a portion of a nullah in the green belt that supposedly recharged water bodies of a nearby bawdi (stepwell),” Singh said.
“So, as a concerned citizen of Gwalior, Upendra Chaturvedi, a social worker, filed the PIL against the unauthorised construction on the green belt government land on 2 February 2014.”
A month after the PIL was lodged, a Gwalior businessman, Shailendra Shrivastav, lodged a complaint with the office of Economic and Offences Wing (EOW) in Bhopal against the Scindias on the ‘illegal sale of land’.
The EOW in April 2015 issued notices to officers of Gwalior’s town and country planning department, district administration and revenue department, seeking details on the land deal by the Scindias.
However, the investigations, under the previous BJP government, failed to make any headway.
The Gwalior royal family has property worth hundreds of crores scattered all over Gwalior, Delhi, Bombay, Pune, Ujjain and London.
They are, though, waging a legal battle over vast properties for past several decades, with Jyotiraditya Scindia on one side and his aunts — former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia and former Madhya Pradesh Minister Yashodhara Raje Scindia — on the other.