The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cops face land probe

Siliguri, Oct. 20: Departmental proceedings have been initiated today against three policemen, including a sub-inspector, involved in a land dispute case at Sarkarpara in Jyotinagar here.

Besides, the SI concerned, Joydeep Ghosh, has also been sent back to the barracks.

Residents said the policemen were helping some people yesterday to take over land belonging to another person.

The action against the trio, others being constables Moloy Ghosh and Ranjit Ghosh, was initiated following an inquiry conducted by the Siliguri additional superintendent of police Tripurari. 'They (the policemen) have been found guilty of operating outside their jurisdiction,' said Darjeeling police superintendent Rajeev Mishra.

The dispute over land had taken place at Sarkarpara, which falls under Bhaktinagar police station in Jalpaiguri district while the policemen were attached to the Siliguri police station. The area, however, comes under Ward 41 of the Siliguri Municipal Corporation.

While the police sought to give an impression that their colleagues only exceeded their jurisdiction in yesterday's incident, local people alleged that they had helped the seven other accused, who were arrested yesterday and sent to a Jalpaiguri court today, to carry out measurement of the disputed land.

The seven ' Amal Roy, Ashis Chakraborty, Asok Saha, Satyanarayan Yadav, Laxman Karmakar, Tubay Mazumdar and Gopal Dey ' have been booked under Sections 341, 323, 379/34 of the IPC on the basis of an FIR filed by Ujjal Sarkar, one of the claimants to the disputed land. Roy is the other claimant to the plot measuring over two bighas while Saha is the son of Anil Saha, former sabhadipati of Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad.

Land disputes have become endemic to Jyotinagar and the surrounding areas. A piece of land that used to cost about Rs 50,000 per cottah till about two to three years back is now being quoted at Rs 6 lakh a cottah.

'Two factors lead to land disputes: one, the forcible occupation through muscle power; and two, when the dependants of previous owners start questioning the legality of the sale deed, usually at the prompting of some moneyed people,' said a police officer.

In fact, the police have started taking action against the land mafia operating in the area. Recently, two of them had been arrested for their attempts to grab land.

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