Construction on land encroached by Champua MLA demolished

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Barbil: Acting on the directive of Orissa High Court, the Keonjhar district administration today demolished construction done by Champua MLA Sanatan Mahakud on five acres of encroached land at Uchabali mouza under Barbil tehsil in Keonjhar district in the presence of additional district magistrate (ADM) and sub-collector.

Twenty five platoons of forces were deployed at the spot in apprehension of a possible law and order situation. Prohibitory orders under section 144 of CrPC were also clamped within a 500-metre radius of the place.

However, Sanatan’s house and office, which is spread over 1 acre and 20 decimals of land spread over multiple plots, will not be evicted on account of a stay order issued by the High Court, official sources said.

The independent legislator refused to make any comment on the demolition. “I have nothing to say. People of Keonjhar are with me. They will give reply in the coming days”, Mahakud said.

“There are two plots – one 5 acre and the other 1 acre 20 decimals. There is a High Court stay on the 1-acre 2 decimal patch of land. In the 5 acre land, there are some temporary sheds built for cattle and livestock. Moreover, there are some construction workers who are staying in that patch of land. These constructions will be evicted,” ADM Sangram Keshari Swain had clarified earlier.

Moreover, court had also allowed the temple built on a portion of encroached land to be retained.

As per the facts mentioned in the order of the Champua Civil Judge Court and the Odisha High Court, Mahakud has encroached a vast stretch of government land at Uchabali Mouza under Badbil tehsil since 1980. He has built a mansion on the encroached land, which comes under Essel mining lease area.

As the illegal possession of the government land came to the fore and the Revenue department began investigation into the matter, the Champua MLA formed Maa Jagat Janani Trust in 2011 and built a temple of Goddess Jagat Janani in a bid to take legal possession of the land.

Badbil tehsildar then initiated a move to evict the encroached land. After being served with a notice by the Badbil tehsildar, Mahakud had filed a petition in the Civil Judge(Senior Division) Court, Champua which rejected his petition. Later, he had filed a writ petition in the Odisha High Court. While upholding the order of the lower court, the High Court had made it clear that under no circumstances would the valuable government land be transferred in the name of a person.

As a last resort, Mahakud had later moved the Supreme Court. The apex court, in its order, allowed Mahakud to retain a portion of the land where he had built the temple, but asked him to vacate the remaining encroached area while upholding the order of the lower court.

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