BHUBANESWAR: As the Opposition demand for a CBI probe into the Ghangapatna land scam involving several ruling party leaders is getting louder, the State Government on Thursday handed over the land grabbing case to the Crime Branch of the police.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik asked the Crime Branch to take up the case and complete the investigation within two months.
The Chief Minister’s directives came after Khurda Collector submitted a report on encroachment of over 76 acres of Government land in Ghangapatna villages under Bhubaneswar tahsil on Thursday.
“FIR should be lodged immediately against the persons who have constructed the road on the ‘chhota jungle’ and ‘parbat kisam’ land for criminal trespass,” the Chief Minister’s order said.
The Forest and Environment department has been asked to take appropriate action against those who have violated Section 2 of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. Under this Act, non-forest activities in forest land without prior approval of the Central Government are prohibited.
While directing the tehsildar of Bhubaneswar tehsil to restore the Government land that has been transacted fraudulently and the leased land that is being used in violation of the lease conditions, the Chief Minister asked the Revenue department to take action against the revenue officials who aided and abetted the irregularities.
Action will be taken against the sub-registrar who registered the documents and the tehsildar/additional tehsildar who allowed mutation of the land under scrutiny in a fraudulent manner. The department has been asked to suspend the erring officials and draw departmental proceedings for major penalty. Besides, criminal liability will be fixed against them for defrauding the Government.
According to the inquiry report of the Khurda District Collector, 76.096 acres of Government land near Ghangapatna villages is under unauthorised occupation. Meanwhile, the department has claimed to have cancelled lease of 41.40 acres land.
The Chief Minister has directed the department to cancel the lease of the remaining 35.05 acres. Since the land given for agriculture is not utilised for the purpose, the same should be resumed.
He has further directed the Revenue department to prepare a Bill with the stringent provisions to prevent land grabbing and place it before the Cabinet within a month.