BHUBANESWAR: The brutal killing of a realtor over alleged land dispute at Nayapalli on Monday brought to fore spurt in crimes, stemming from flourishing real estate business in the city.
While two murders, relating to land disputes, were reported in the past four days, nearly 15 cases were registered in different police stations over group clashes following land tussles in past one year. Earlier on August 8, builder Kingsukh Baran Das, 52, was killed by unidentified miscreants at Daruthenga under Chandaka police limits.
On April 16, two brothers were hospitalized after allegedly attacked with acid by their neighbour at Raghunathpur under Nandankanan police limits over a prolonged land dispute. Police were on their toes following clash between two groups over ownership of a disputed land at Kalarahanga under Mancheswar police limits here on February 5.
Villagers of Andharua ransacked Chandaka police station on March 17, 2011, and pelted stones at cops, alleging shoddy investigation into the alleged murder of a land dealer, Manas Mahapatra, who was found dead on March 12, 2011. Former DCP Himanshu Lal, among other police officers, was injured in the violence.
Experts attributed the rising land scams and other land-related crimes to spiraling prices of land. "With land prices reaching a new high, crimes relating to land disputes have registered a sharp rise in a parallel manner. Land mafia are not only usurping land but also targeting their rivals to settle old score," said realtor, Jayant Kumar Mohanty.
"It is high time police curbed the menace of land mafia. Many innocent people are also bearing the brunt of land disputes. Recently land mafia forcibly took signature of an elderly woman on a blank paper at Saheed Nagar," said resident, Sarat Chandra Mohapatra.
Though the police had earlier announced to open a dedicated cell to exclusively address grievances, relating to land disputes, it still remains a non-starter. "Just as the government opened Economic Offences Wing to address financial fraud cases, it should immediately start a cell to deal with grievances on land frauds," said Mohapatra.
In many cases, police came under scanner as complainants were scared away from police stations on the pretext that the land disputes should be fought in courts. "At times police connive with controversial builders and ask us to file cases in court, which is a very prolonged process," said another citizen, Kailas Chandra Mohanty.