Ranchi: The Jharkhand State Housing Board, smarting under a new and tough taskmaster, has begun repossession of plots in Ranchi that it feels were allotted amid procedural lapses in the past.
Among the 24 people immediately affected by this extensive crackdown, which began on Monday, is senior IPS officer M.S. Bhatia.
The IG-rank officer, who is currently waiting for posting at the state police headquarters, was given a 4,000sqft plot in Harmu Housing Colony, an elite neighbourhood in the heart of Ranchi, some seven years ago. Former managing director of the housing board Abraham Rauna had given Bhatia his allotment letter on February 25, 2008, following payment of Rs 9.89 lakh.
New managing director Dilip Kumar Jha, who cancelled this allotment order on Monday, said the IPS officer and many others like him were allotted "cut plots", which they were not entitled to.
Bhatia minced no words to say he was unhappy about the cancellation of his allotment.
"I am not an encroacher. I got the plot after I applied for it. The board provided me the land. I also took a bank loan for the purchase. Now, after seven years of possession, the board says that land was illegally given to me and is being taken away. This is so not fair," the senior officer, who had hogged headlines in 2007 after he and his team shot dead three robbers to recover booty cleaned out from a city bank, said.
Jha, however, clarified that money taken from Bhatia and others would be returned.
The managing director explained "cut plot" was one that remained unused after construction of a particular type of house and when another unit of the same type was unlikely on the residual space.
"Cut plots can be allotted to only those who already have a house adjoining to it. M.S. Bhatia has no such house in Harmu Housing Colony, but was allotted the plot in violation of Rule 30 of Jharkhand State Housing Board Regulations," he said.
Jha maintained that not just Bhatia, Tupudana OC Ranjit Kumar Sinha's allotment in the same colony too had been cancelled and notices had been served to 22 other commoners.
"A former managing director of the housing board, Birendra Ram, is under the scanner for fraudulently allotting an LIG plot to his wife in 2009. We may lodge an FIR in that case," he added.
OC Sinha, who possessed a 2,400sqft cut plot in Harmu, was resentful. "My (land) matter is sub judice (an objection was raised in court) since 2011. I do not want to comment."
Jha said the board had filed a counter-affidavit in the case and instructed its lawyer to make the court aware of the real status of the plot by filing an interlocutory petition.