BHUBANESWAR: The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) on Friday busted a `150 crore land scam and arrested three persons, including a land broker, for attempting to sell government properties. The land, measuring about 51.5 acre, is located in four mouzas __ Pandara, Gadakana, Mancheswar and Rokat __ abutting the Capital.
The State Government had taken back the land from the clutches of unscrupulous land grabbers way back in 1973-74, but the three had allegedly acquired record of rights using fabricated orders of Cuttack tehsildar and tried to sell the same. The three included Narayan Chandra Pradhan of Kalarahanga, Arun Kumar Bhanja of Sailashree Vihar and Bansidhar Pradhan of Chakeisiani. Bansidhar, the EOW said, is a land broker.
According to Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of EOW Rajesh Kumar, the General Administration department had registered a case in July basing on which investigation had started.
In fact, the history of grabbing of the land dates back to 1961 when using the fabricated orders of the tehsildar, the 51.5 acre land was recorded in favour of one Choudhury Keshab Chandra Mohapatra. Mohapatra had also sold portions of the land to others.
“When the State Government came to know about the grabbing, it immediately reverted the land from the grabbers and in the next settlement, the property was recorded as government land once again in 1973-74,” Kumar said.
However, the issue did not stop there. Some others were clandestinely selling the land to others using forged documents in the later years. Using fabricated orders of the tehsildar, the three accused not only bought the land, but also were trying to sell the same when it came to the notice of the GA department recently.
The EOW is also trying to ascertain if the revenue orders used by the accused were actually fabricated or any government officials had any role in issuing such directives leading to record of the land in private person’s name. “We have, under our scanner, some revenue officials as well as private individuals whose role is being analysed since the value of the land is huge at the current prices,” the DIG said. The three have been booked under Section 420/ 467/468/471 and 120(B) of the Indian Penal Code. In 2013, Kumar said, the EOW had booked at least 13 cases against land grabbers. In most cases, the land is located in and around the Capital.