Bhubaneswar: The BJP state unit is facing embarrassment after the state government has taken back the land, owned by its president K.V. Singh Deo’s daughter, at Ghangapatna, claiming that the land belonged to the government.
Reacting to the development, Singh Deo asked: “How can the government take the land belonging to my daughter’s company, Nivriti Exports Private Limited? The land has been purchased from private persons. The land did not belong to the government.”
The Ghangapatna land scam has been hogging news space for the past few weeks following allegations that influential people, including Singh Deo’s daughter and Rajya Sabha Member Kalpataru Das’s son Pranab Balabantaray, a BJD MLA, had acquired government land on the outskirts of the city violating all government norms. A road was under construction through the forestland to provide access to the disputed 77 acres. Incidentally, the panchayati raj department had sanctioned funds for the approach road.
Singh Deo’s family had purchased seven acres in the name of Nivriti Exports Private Limited, owned by his daughter Nivriti Kumari Singh Deo and his wife and former Lok Sabha member from Balangir Sangeeta Singh Deo.
Official sources asserted that the company had bought the land within a span of five years when K.V. Singh Deo was a minister in the Naveen Patnaik’s coalition government between 2000 and 2009.
Contrary to Singh Deo’s claims, an inquiry report of the Bhubaneswar tehesildar, submitted to the revenue department, stated that the land belonged to the government (a copy of the report is with The Telegraph). “The suit land were government land. The lease, granted in favour of different private individuals, have already been cancelled by the competent authority,” states the report.
Senior BJP leader Bijoy Mohjapatra, who had been attacking the government on the land scam, today asserted: “Singh Deo’s daughter’s company has not done any fraudulent transaction.”
The government has also brought back to its possession the land that was initially purchased by Balabantaray. He claimed that he had sold the five-acre plot to the Gokarneswar Charitable Trust to one of the trustees, Prafulla Kumar Sahoo. Incidentally, Das’s family is a part of the trust. Sahoo, a trustee, is also a director of Sarvodaya Real Estate Private Limited.
A boundary wall had also been built around the disputed land. Balabantaray declined to comment on the issue as an inquiry is on. Earlier, he said that he had sold the land purchased by the trust to another individual.
The revenue officials’ inquiry reveals that the government had leased out the land at Ghangapatna to the SC and ST communities for agricultural purposes in 1973-75. But, in 1998, the lease was cancelled after it was detected that it was being used for other purposes. But, the revenue officials never pursued the matter seriously.
The report revealed that the persons, who had been granted lease, got the land transferred in their names and even managed to get the land pattern use changed through the connivance of revenue officials.