The controversial road that leads through the forest land at Ghangapatna on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar. Picture by Sanjib Mukherjee
Bhubaneswar, Aug. 24: State BJP president K.V. Singh Deo and his kin are in the dock following reports that his family members have bought seven acres of the disputed 100 acres of land in Ghangapatna area in Chandaka forest area, on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar.
The news about Singh Deo’s involvement came after members of the BJP local units demolished a wall raised on a part of the 100 acres of land yesterday.
However, Singh Deo said his family’s name had been dragged to cover up the entire issue of land grabbing by members of the ruling BJD.
Sources said the seven acres of land was bought in the name of the Nivriti Export Private Limited (NEPL), which is owned by his daughter Nivritti Kumari Singh Deo and his wife and former Lok Sabha member from Balangir Sangeeta Singh Deo. However, the company is yet to start any business.
Sources said the land was bought near the BJD Rajya Sabha member Kalpataru Das’s son and Dharmasala MLA Pranab Balabantaray’s five-acre plot in the area.
|BJP leader KV Singh Deo
A three-km disputed road is under construction in the area. It is believed to have been constructed to give the “owners” access to the disputed plots. The area has gained importance as a large number of major projects are coming up in the vicinity.
While Balabantaray maintained that the five-acre patch owned by the Gokarneshwar Charitable Trust, of which he was a trustee, was sold in 2012, Singh Deo said his family members did not buy the land through fraudulent means.
Daring a CBI inquiry into the entire episode of alleged land scam in Ghangapatna, Singh Deo said: “An attempt is being made to tarnish my image. It is not going to work. The government cannot put me on the mat.”
The senior BJP leader indicated that the company purchased land from some individuals who did not belong to SC and ST communities.
“The land is under the category of agricultural land. The land category remains unchanged and no boundary wall has been constructed around it,” he said.
Sources said the company bought the land within a span of five years when K.V. Singh Deo was the minister in the Naveen Patnaik government.
The company bought one acre from one Dehury Kanthu in 2003, one acre each from Bharat Dehury, Laxman Dehury, Rohit Dehury, Prafulla Dehury and Magu Dehury in 2007 and another acre from Yudhistir Dehury in 2008.
Land records mention address of Nivriti Export as C1-19, Pandara Park, New Delhi.
Singh Deo said: “ I have not given any land to my blood relations when I was the industry minister or the urban development minister. After our party raised the issue of land scam following the revelations by the Comptroller and Auditor General, an attempt was being made to divert the issue.”
However, the BJD said there was no need to hand over the case to the CBI.
“A departmental inquiry into the entire issue is on in Ghangpatna area. Let’s wait for its report. If it is not satisfactory, then the government may consider ordering a high-level inquiry,” said former minister Pratap Keshari Deb.
The Chandaka divisional forest officer (DFO) submitted his inquiry report on the ownership of the three-km road connecting the disputed patch of land.
Sources said that the DFO had communicated to the government that the disputed road belonged to the forest department. However, the records are with the revenue department, he had reportedly said.
Revenue minister Bijayshree Routray said: “The joint inquiry by the forest department and the revenue department was yet not over.”