The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Court calls for plot papers

The controversy over Salt Lake plots just refuses to sink.

The Supreme Court, in a recent order, has asked Calcutta High Court to place before it all the relevant papers relating to the old interim order passed by former Justice Bhagabati Prasad Banerjee, empowering former chief minister Jyoti Basu to distribute 75 per cent of the total plots of Salt Lake.

An apex court division bench also asked the state government to file an affidavit stating whether there was any policy to allot plots to Calcutta High Court judges.

The apex court order followed an appeal filed by Trinamul Congress leader Tarak Singh, seeking its intervention in the alleged “favouritism and nepotism” by Basu while distributing the township plots.

A high court official said on Monday that the registrar-general had already been asked by Chief Justice A.K. Mathur to handle the matter and to take all steps to send the papers to the apex court immediately.

In 1997, Justice Bhagabati Prasad Banerjee had, in course of disposing of a case regarding the allotment of land in the burgeoning township, observed that then chief minister Basu had discretionary powers over distribution of 75 per cent of the total plots of Salt Lake.

Singh’s counsels P. Bhusan and Kamini Kaushal, during their argument in the apex court, hinted that some high court judges, including Justice Banerjee, had been allotted plots in the township soon after that interim order.

In another order, the Supreme Court had observed that those who had been allotted plots in Salt Lake from the Basu quota, would have the liberty to file affidavits to be added as parties to the case.

Singh’s advocate on record Amalesh Roy said that they would plead with the Supreme Court to pass an order asking those allotted plots at that time to pay the market rates for the land. “Why are they allowed to pay such a low price for the plots'” he demanded.

Tarak Singh had first moved Calcutta High Court, seeking action against Basu for his alleged “favouritism” in allotting the plots.

Justice Pinaki Ghosh had rejected his petition on technical grounds. Singh then moved an appeal before the apex court against the high court order.

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