The G+16 apartment under construction on disputed land along Bariatu Road, Ranchi, on Friday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
The lawbreaker is mightier than the lawmaker in Ranchi.
A multi-storeyed building is rising tall along Bariatu Road in the state capital despite a court order to maintain status quo over a land dispute.
The two acres under Sadar thana, on which Chandigarh-based Van Vrindavan Construction Private Limited began shaping G+16 tower in 2010, purportedly belongs to one Mahadeo Oraon of Gari village.
Oraon had filed an appeal in the court of South Chotanagpur divisional commissioner in 1997 against city realtor Gyan Prakash Budhiya who is believed to have handed over the project to the construction firm. The land, which Oraon had claimed was ancestral property, has been sub judice since April 2000 when the petition was admitted. While Oraon died a few years ago, his relatives have been pursuing the matter in court.
Hearing the case (No. 290/97) on April 29 this year, divisional commissioner K.K. Khandelwal directed Ranchi SSP Prabhat Kumar to take measures to stop construction. Sources at the divisional commissioner’s office said that irrespective of the order, construction work has been going on at the site and is nearing completion.
A spot visit on Friday confirmed the same.
On whether they knew that the plot of land was disputed and that construction work had been banned, a mason said: “Humko to nahi pata hai, hum to roz kaam kar rahein hain (We do not know anything, we are working here every day).”
The guard at the building site too pleaded ignorance on the court ordering stop-work.
Sources at the Vigilance Bureau revealed that the said plot came under the CNT Act. “Sale and purchase of tribal land is guided by certain rules. We are investigating the matter. If there has been a violation of the Act, an FIR will be lodged against people who eased the process of registration and mutation,” said an officer.
A few documents made available by the vigilance team showed that an iconic G+16 tower, with 150 flats, has been proposed at the site complete with all modern facilities. The project is in its final stages.
A Van Vrindavan Construction official said the flats would be ready for possession soon. On the court order, he said one Jeetendra Verma was the right person to comment on the matter. The latter did not receive calls.
When apprised of the violation, divisional commissioner Khandelwal said the pleader himself needed to bring the matter to his notice once again. “If the SSP was instructed to stop work, he must do it through the police station concerned. I will not comment further without checking details.”
SSP Kumar, whose office had apparently directed Bariatu police to prevent construction, said a court order could not be taken lightly.
“I will immediately enquire at the thana why construction work is still on,” he added.