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Big B in another land scandal

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Awards and celebrations apart, the Maharashtra government may prosecute Bollywood mega superstar Amitabh Bachchan if it was found that he has acquired farmland near Pune through any fraudulent means. According to Maharashtra revenue minister Narayan Rane, the State government would initiate actions against the Bollywood mega star if he is found guilty in the land deal.

Rane's comments came a day after a Uttar Pradesh court dismissed an appeal by Bachchan against an order cancelling transfer of land in his name on the ground that he was not a farmer in UP. The court said the allotment of the farmland in a village in Barabanki district by the previous Mulayam Singh government was an act of forgery. "If it is found that he (Bachchan) is not a farmer then government will take back the land and file a case," Rane said.

Meanwhile, a senior Maharashtra government official said, "As per Section 63 of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act 1948, no person can purchase agricultural land in Maharashtra if he is not a farmer." The Mulayam Singh Yadav government in UP had allotted three bighas (about 70,000 sq ft) of prime land in Barabanki district to Bachchan, who used the allotment as a testimonial to establish his credentials as a farmer to buy over 20 acres of agricultural land in Pune district.

The Pune District Collector in March 2006 had written to the Barabanki District Magistrate for authentication of Bachchan's testimonial. Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh had recently announced that the state government would seek a factual report from Uttar Pradesh and would take appropriate action on Bachchan's land deal in Pune district.

The land, two km from Pavna dam in Maval, was purchased in the name of Amitabh and his son Abhishek. In March 2006, Bachchan produced documents approved by the UP government that certified him as a farmer who was cultivating agricultural land in Daulatpur village of UP, the official said.

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