HC gives clean chit to Amitabh Bachchan in land dispute case

Bollywood mega superstar Amitabh Bachchan Tuesday got a major reprieve in the Barabanki land dispute case when the Allahabad High Court directed that no criminal, civil or revenue proceedings be initiated against him in the matter.

Giving a clean chit to Bachchan, a single Lucknow bench of Justice A N Verma said there was no finding that the actor “himself committed any fraud or manipulated any surreptitious entry in the revenue records”.

Justice Verma disposed off Bachchan’s petition challenging the order of additional commissioner of Faizabad quashing the allotment of the land in Daulatpur village of Barabanki district to the actor “as withdrawn”.

However, the order of additional commissioner would be maintained.

The court said Bachchan would not “lay any claim on the land in question and his (Bachchan) right, title or interest if any shall stand extinguished”.

“Throughout the entire fabric of the judgment and order of district magistrate and also of the additional commissioner there is no finding that any fraud was committed by the petitioner nor was any surreptitious entry manipulated at his behest,” the court observed.

It said Bachchan has abandoned his claim over the land, allotted to him during the previous Samajwadi Party regime, and wants to withdraw the petition and the village council has agreed not to proceed against the actor.

The state has also not disputed that the withdrawal of the petition is permissible, the court said.

“The litigation may come to an end if the petitioner abandoned his claim over the land in question,” it observed.

Government counsel D K Upadhyay said he would decide the next course of action after studying the judgment.

The court had on December six reserved its judgment on Bachchan’s petition.

In an apparent attempt to wriggle out of the controversy, Bachchan had offered to abandon his claim over the land.

“I am giving up my claim on the land in question and also on the adjoining land for the welfare of the villagers,” Bachchan’s counsel Mukul Rohtagi had submitted before the court.

Upadhyay had termed Bachchan’s claim over the land district as a “case of forgery in the revenue records”.

Bachchan, who had bought a piece of land in Maharashtra, required a certificate declaring him to be a farmer, which was sought by the Maharashtra government. Later the district magistrate and the additional commissioner had quashed the allotment of the land in.

Bachchan later bought another piece of land adjoining the plot in dispute and offered to donate it to the village council for building a school for girls.