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Bollywood producer-director Subhash Ghai suffered another setback on Tuesday when the Punjab and Haryana high court stayed the execution of a sale deed of land purchased by his Mukta Arts in Badhsa village of Jhajjar district in Haryana.

The decision comes roughly a month after the Supreme Court directions ordering the quashing of 14.5 acres of land allotted to Ghai on the outskirts of Mumbai.

The stay order along with show-cause notices to Ghai, Haryana government and Jhajjar deputy commissioner were issued by the HC after taking cognizance of a petition alleging favoritism by the Haryana government in granting permission to sell the 20 acres of shamlat (village common land) to the Ghai.

The petitioner, a teacher, had alleged that the land was sold to Ghai in 2010 for public purpose but he had put it to private use. The division bench comprising acting Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Alok Singh issued the orders while hearing a petition filed by 70-year-old retired teacher Nafe Singh, who belongs to Badhsa village.

The petition submitted on Tuesday had challenged the decision of the Haryana government to sell the village land allegedly in gross violation of rules and without there being any public purpose for Subhash Ghai-owned Mukta Arts.

The counsel for the petitioner, Deepak Balyan, contended that the decision to sell the village land to Mukta Arts from the village panchayat was taken under pressure and not by free will.

Alleging that the Haryana government machinery connived with Ghai despite the fact that the filmmaker wanted land for private purposes, petitioner’s counsel gave an example where the Bombay HC had cancelled the allotment of 20 acres of land allotted to Ghai at Goregaon by Maharashtra government in a similar fashion.

Badhsa gram panchayat had sent a resolution to the Haryana government on January 6, 2010, to permit it to sell the 20 acre land to Mukta Arts. The state government allowed the panchayat to sell the land in September for Rs 8.02 crore, which included the land price and annuity.

The next date of hearing is July 31.


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