Bhubaneswar: The State Government on Thursday constituted a three-member special squad to probe fraudulent recording of Government land in favour of private individuals in 10 mouzas on the outskirts of the Capital. With the incidence of fraud recurring, the Government suspects role of its own officials in the land scams.
The special squad, which will include assistant settlement officers Pradipta Kumar Biswal and Sanjay Kumar Pratihari, has been asked to submit a comprehensive report to Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Surya Narayan Patro within a month.
The mouzas, where lands have been defrauded, include Patharagadia, Shyampur, Bhola, Andharua, Ghatikia, Gothapatna, Sundarpur, Ogalapada and Bhuasuni.
The Revenue and Disaster Management Department on Thursday said several cases of illegal land settlement have come to the notice of the Government. Value of these lands, settled in the name of private individuals, is estimated at several crores of rupees.
The Crime Branch (CB) of Odisha Police is already inquiring into a number of such incidents. A former tahasildar had been suspended for his alleged involvement in recording of five acres in Ogalapada village. Similarly, a former additional tahasildar of Bhubaneswar had to face identical disciplinary action when preliminary investigation pointed at his involvement in recording of five acres in Sundarpur village in favour of a realtor. Sridhar Mishra, a former assistant settlement officer, was arrested by the CB for his alleged involvement in settlement of about 80 acres recently.
Once the CB cracked down, a special cell, constituted to prevent encroachment of Government land, managed to salvage 763 acres in Gothapatna village where perimeter walls are being erected.
Government land, encroached on by private individuals on the outskirts of City, is valued at several hundred crores and the land sharks include entrepreneurs, real estate developers and influential politicians who usurped lands in alleged connivance with Government officials. The CBI too is investigating a land scam in Andharua village following an Orissa High Court order. It has already submitted chargesheets in the case.