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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Big B bails out of land mess, 'donates' farmland

Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan is no longer a farmer. According to a leading daily he has "donated" the land in Daulatpur to the gramsabha.

On July 12 he wrote to the gram panchayat of Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh, and thereafter he also wrote to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati informing her of his decision.

Bachchan has also surrendered his farmlands in Pune. The divisional commissioner of Pune was on Wednesday told to 'donate' the land owned by the Big B and his son, Abhishek Bachchan.

However, the Divisional Commissioner of Pune, Nitin Karir, told CNN-IBN that they have not received any letter from the superstar saying he would like to donate his land.

The actor had received the state-owned farmland from the previous UP government headed by Mulayam Singh Yadav. Bachchan had then allegedly used forged documents - approved by the then UP government - that certified him as a farmer to buy over 20 acres of agricultural land in Pune district.

In 2000, Bachchan had purchased a plot of land in Lonavala near Pune. 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.

Bachchan had used the UP land allotment as a testimonial to establish his credentials as a farmer for this deal and had submitted the documents in March 2006.

In the same month, the Pune District Collector had written to the Barabanki District Magistrate for the authentication of Bachchan's testimonial.

The decision to relinquish the land in Pale village, near the scenic Pawna site, came after he did away with the root of all controversies - the three plots measuring around 4.5 bigha of agricultural land in village Daulatpur in Barabanki which gave him the status of a 'farmer', legally enabling him to buy land in Pawna.

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