Ahmedabad: A judicial commission probing corruption charges against the Narendra Modi government has given a "clean chit" to it in nine land allotment cases, an official spokesperson said on Wednesday.

The one-man commission of Justice M B Shah has submitted its interim report which has found no illegality in land allotments, state spokesperson Jaynarayan Vyas said.

"The commission has submitted an interim report on its findings and concluded that the state government has adhered to proper procedures of land allotment and no illegality has been committed," said Vyas, who is also a minister.

The report was today placed before the Cabinet which met under chairmanship of Modi and comes on a day when the Election Commission announced Assembly poll dates in Gujarat.

"The report says the government had followed proper procedures and pricing of land while making allotments to industrial houses. The entire procedure was done appropriately," Vyas maintained.

The inquiry panel was asked to probe 15 allegations of corruption and on nine points (related to land), the Modi government has been given "clean chit", he claimed.

The commission under Justice Shah, a retired Supreme Court judge, was set up on August 16, 2011 by the BJP government to probe allegations of corruption levelled against it by the Congress. Among other charges, the Opposition party had accused the Modi government of showing favouritism toward certain industrial houses in land allotments.

Under its terms of reference, the panel was also to study and compare with other states the manner in which land had been allocated to industries, analyse sales and commercial taxes, stamp duty and all tax concessions and difference of taxes vis-a-vis those states with Gujarat.

The Commission was initially slated to submit its report by March. But the government extended its term for further six months till September.

"As the inquiry into the remaining six points are still pending, the government will short decide on giving further extension to the commission," Vyas said. The Congress had vociferously raised the issue of corruption in BJP-ruled Gujarat. In June 2011, it submitted a comprehensive memorandum to then President Pratibha Patil accusing the Modi government of indulging in corruption and showing undue favours to select industrial houses.

Following this, the BJP government announced setting up a Commission of Inquiry to probe Congress' allegations.

"We are totally disappointed by conclusions drawn by the Commission as during the probe it had not examined any witnesses or evidences which we tried to put before it," said Gautam Thakar, who has deposed before the panel on behalf of Gujarat chapter of People's Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL).

The nine points on which the Commission has concluded the probe and submitted its recommendations to the government included the alleged Rs 33,000-crore concession given to the Tata's Nano car project for relocation from Singur in West Bengal to Sanand in Gujarat and the land allotted to Adani industrial house for its Mundra Port and Mundra SEZ.

It also included the allotment of prime land of Navsari Agricultural University to Chhatrala Group of Hotels for constructing a five-star hotel, alleged illegal allotment of Coastal Regulation Zone and Forest land and permission for construction given to Essar Group.

The panel probed the allegation that huge tract of land has been allotted to a company, said to be linked to BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu, to set up a salt chemicals facility in Kutch district near Pakistan border.

Other allegations which the Commission found baseless related to allotment of prime land to Bharat Hotels Ltd near Gandhinagar and to L&T at throwaway prices. The Commission, in its interim report, has criticised the Congress party, according to a press release issued by the government late in the evening.

"Some of the decisions (questioned by Congress) were taken during the Congress rule. Still the party has made allegations against the present (BJP) government (pertaining to them)."

The panel has concluded that while allocating land, the Modi government had not violated any laws, regulations or rules pertaining to environment, grazing land, coastal or border, the release said.

"The Commission has held that during the rule of past Governments, no proper system of land allocation and land pricing was followed. But the present Government has followed a transparent system."

The judicial body has also given a clean chit to the Government regarding allegations about favourable allocation of land to the companies in Mundra Port and Special Economic Zone, it said.

"Even the Union Government has offered special relaxations to automotive, SEZ and power sector companies. So there is nothing wrong if the State Government follows the same policy."

The Congress had opposed the setting up of the panel, saying the Government was trying to diverting people's attention from the then raging issue of appointing a Lokayutka in the state. The State Congress had boycotted the proceedings of the Commission.

This was criticised by the panel in the report.

"Persons who had made allegations against the Government had not even cared to appear before the Commission despite being summoned repeatedly. In fact, an affidavit has to be submitted by persons on whose allegations an inquiry is ordered," the release said.

(Agencies)

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