Patna, Aug 30 (IANS) Filmmaker Prakash Jha's trouble over the alleged land scam in Bihar is far from over with the Patna High Court Wednesday fixing Sep 11 for hearing a public interest litigation (PIL).
A senior Congress leader Premchand Mishra had filed a PIL last month challenging the decision of the Nitish Kumar government to give land and allot some space in the office building of the Patna Industrial Area Development Authority to the filmmaker.
Mishra's PIL said all norms were violated to favour Jha by selling land at throwaway prices by the government.
Reacting to the PIL, the court directed advocate general of Bihar P.K. Shahi to file a response before the matter was heard.
Shahi had, however, sought early hearing of the case since the PIL had raised several controversies forcing potential investors from outside the state to back out.
State opposition leader Rabri Devi demanded early this month a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the allotment. 'There was clear cut favouritism and irregularities were committed in allotting land to Jha. Only a CBI probe would come out with facts,' she said.
Samata Party president P.K. Sinha first raised the issue while Rabri's Rashtriya Janata Dal had raised the issue during the monsoon session of state assembly.
Sinha alleged the state government had allotted one acre of land for only Rs.1.46 million to the filmmaker for construction of multiplexes at Patliputra industrial estate. 'The actual market price of the land is Rs.48 million,' he said.
'Chief Minister Nitish Kumar acted arbitrarily to favour Jha,' said Sinha.
Jha's company Holy Cow Private Ltd also had been allotted 1.18 acres of land in Hajipur near Patna much below the market rates, alleged Sinha. Another plot of 1.64 acres in Muzaffarpur was given to the filmmaker at a very low price.
'It appears Nitish (Kumar) and his close coterie has a vested interest in Jha's company,' Sinha charged.
To see Bihar rolling on the path of development, the filmmaker planned to set up multiplexes, ultra-modern medical colleges and hospitals in the state. Jha had also announced plans to build a four-lane highway between Vaishali and Muzaffarpur districts in north Bihar. He even expressed his desire to turn the Mata Janki Kunwar hospital in Bettiah into a full-fledged medical college.
Jha, who hails from a village near Bettiah, campaigned for Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal-United during the assembly polls in 2005.