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CBI raids reveal land scam papers

Bhubaneswar, Oct. 28: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today conducted raids at eight places in Bhubaneswar, Berhampur, Jajpur and Kendrapara in connection with a land scam and seized several incriminating documents.

To regularise government land in his favour, one Subash Chandra Samantray, 52, who had been illegally occupying two acres of government land in Andharua on the city outskirts since 2008 in connivance with few officers in the settlement office, had filed a petition in the high court. Samantaray moved the court as the local tehsildar did not allow the transfer of the land to his name. A CBI officer said Samantray had filed a petition in the name of his brother Bichitrananda Harichandan which said the land had been given to his father on lease in 1960. However, the court was not convinced with his appeal and ordered a CBI probe on January, 2011.

On primary investigation, the CBI officials found that two assistant settlement officers (ASO) and another official in the settlement office in Bhubaneswar had tried to regularise government land fraudulently in the name of others.

The CBI officers raided the houses of ASO Debaraj Das, who retired in May, ASO Artatran Mallick, who is currently under suspension and judicial clerk Bijay Kumar Muduli. The officials also raided the houses of Samantray in Andharua.

“We have seized several documents related to the scam. We are investigating the charges of impersonation and deceitfully occupying government land. If they do not cooperate with us during the investigation, we will arrest them,” said the officer.

Secretary, revenue, R.K. Sharma said: “We are happy that the court has taken cognisance of illegal encroachment of land. Nearly 10,000 acres have been fraudulently taken away by land mafias across the state. The state government has recovered nearly 1,100 acres.”

Sharma said a dedicated land cell has been set up to retrieve land fraudulently taken away by the influential people and land mafias.

Sources said nearly 1,400 acres of land have been encroached in the capital city. Around 761 acres have been encroached in Gothapatana, 250 acres in Malipada and the rest in other parts of the city.

Similarly, 1,200 acres of land have been illegally taken away by influential people in Puri, 1,800 acres of land in the industrial hub Kalinga Nagar and 400 acres in Cuttack city.

“The land encroachment in the Puri Konark marine beach would cross even 1200 acres of land in Puri. Similarly 300 acres of encroached lands have been identified in the Cuttack city alone,” said newly constituted land-cell chief Dhiren Das.

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