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Fresh trouble in store for Big B over transfer of UP farmland

By Sharat Pradhan
October 23, 2009 23:03 IST
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Fresh trouble appeared to be brewing for Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan over his decision to 'gift' the farmland he had allegedly acquired in violation of rules in Daulatpur village of Barabanki district, about 40 km from Lucknow, three years ago.

Having 'gifted' the controversial 1.383 hectare farmland (made out of 3 plots) earlier on Friday to a proposed college named after his actress daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai, the superstar has invited fresh controversy.

No sooner than the news broke out about Bachchan's move to gift the entire land to the college, local village head Raj Kumari Singh threw a spanner in the works. According to her, 'a land once gifted away to the gram sabha cannot be gifted to anybody else.'

Terming the latest gift executed through Bachchan's local power of attorney in Barabanki on Friday as 'illegal,' the village head said, "I will file a formal objection against the move, it is violation of UP land laws."

Two of the three plots in Daulatpur had already been gifted by Bachchan to the local 'gram sabha' after the super star found himself in the thick of a controversy and court battles on account of the alleged 'shady' manner in which the plots were acquired by him.

The Bachchan family laid the foundation stone of the college on January 27, 2008 at a high-profile bash in the village, where they also flew in prominent politicians like Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav,  his man Friday Amar Singh, former Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu, former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala and former Kashmir chief minister Farukh Abdullah.

After just sitting pretty over the land on which not a brick was added since the foundation stone was laid, Bachchan chose to give away the plot of land as gift to a foundation set up by actress-turned Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Prada. The foundation had announced its decision to set up a college after Aishwarya.
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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow