Centre`s assurance to Delhi HC on Kandla Port land lease

The Center on Wednesday assured the Delhi High Court that it would not renew the lease of Kandla Port Trust (KPT) land in Gujarat to private players without the court`s permission.

New Delhi: The Center on Wednesday assured the
Delhi High Court that it would not renew the lease of Kandla
Port Trust (KPT) land in Gujarat to private players without
the court`s permission.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and
Justice Manmohan accepted the submission made by A S
Chandhioke, Additional Solicitor General (ASG), that
government would not renew the lease which expires in March,
2011.
"No further renewal of lease will be done by the
Ministry of Shipping till January 25, 2011 as stated by ASG,"
the court said.

Appearing for the petitioner NGO Centre for Public
Interest Litigation(CPIL), counsel Prashant Bhushan argued the
government has denied sanction for prosecution against
former Secretary of Kandla Port Trust and the court decided
the issue would be taken up on the next date of hearing.

The lawyer also argued the present Joint Secretary of
Shipping Ministry Rakesh Srivastav has been "arbitrarily"
recommending for the renewal of lease even when the inquiry
into the scam was on and no action has been taken against him.

The court was hearing a PIL filed CPIL alleging over
16,000 acre of land belonging to the port was leased by KPT
officials to some private persons at throw-away prices without
doing proper valuation.
According to the petitioner NGO, the affluent
families and industrialists in Gujarat were favoured in
allotment of 16,000 acre of land of the Trust and despite the
central vigilance officer of KPT report about the scam about
two years ago, no action has been taken against the
responsible officers of the port.

The court, in its earlier hearing, had directed the
Ministry of Shipping to file an affidavit explaining why it
did not act on the report submitted by the central vigilance
officer of KPT.

The officer, in his report, had said the deliberate
inaction on the part of KPT officials should be examined from
the angle of Prevention of Corruption Act.

CBI is also probing the scam following the court`s
direction.

PTI

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