New Delhi: After the CD controversy, more troubles brew for Shanti Bhushan. He has allegedly acquired over two prime farm house plots in Noida for himself and his son Jayant from the Mayawati government at a throwaway price earlier this year.
Shanti Bhushan has been nominated as the co-chairman of the drafting committee of the Lokpal Bill following the Anna Hazare-led agitation.
Though, Bhushan has mentioned the 20 thousand square metre plots when he declared his assets last week, he did not mention the discretionary manner in which the Mayawati government allotted the land to him and his lawyer son Jayant Bhushan earlier this year.
The cost of each farmhouse plot is Rs 3.5 crore and allottees had to pay just 10 per cent - Rs 35 lakh - at the time of allotment, and the rest of the amount will be paid in 16 installments.
The disclosure has raised questions of conflict of interest, as Jayant Bhushan has appeared against Mayawati in the Noida statue park case.
"There is no conflict of interest. There is no question of asking any favour from the Mayawati government. This is all an attempt to malign us," said Jayant Bhushan in clarification.
"We had applied for the land based on an advertisement in the newspaper for the land. We never checked if any draw for allotment ever happened or not. We made cheque payment for the land," said Jayant Bhushan.
Moreover, this allotment of Noida farmland is now the subject matter of a case in the Allahabad High Court filed by former Additional Solicitor General Vikas Singh, who is another allottee.
In his petition, Singh has alleged that - the Noida Authority is not justified in selling its property at rates way below the market price and that too collecting only 10 per cent of the premium thereof and such action of the Noida Authority in the matter of allotment of plots is clearly arbitrary and unjustified.
"If there was no lottery system in this land allotment, then it is a fit case for cancellation of the land allotment. The timings of these controversies, be it the CD or this land allotment are questionable. This seems to be an attempt to derail the process the drafting the Lokpal Bill," said Jayant Bhushan.
The latest allegations have only deepened the divide between the civil society and the polity. While the civil society continues to back the Bhushans, the political class, including the likes of Digvijay Singh, who have been slapped by a legal notice by Shanti Bhushan look at these allegations as proof of misconduct on part of Bhushans.
Shanti Bhushan issued a statement in his defence as well and said, "It is a part of the malicious campaign by corrupt and influential people who are afraid that my presence in the drafting committee will result in a tough law against corruption."
With new allegations surfacing each day, the Bhushans are bound to find the going tough for themselves. After all, they have been at the forefront of most legal campaigns being fought by civil rights groups.