Pradeep Pattanayak

A massive constroversy has erupted over the ownership of a patch of a land belonging to Lord Lingaraj in Bhubaneswar which is reportedly owned by one Kiruthika Prabhakaran, the wife of B. Prabhakaran. 

As per sources, the said land, measuring 228 decimals and located just around 200 metres from the Biju Patnaik International Airport in the State capital has emerged as a bone of contention between the administration and the family of Prabhakaran. 

The controversy surrounding the plot came to the fore on Sunday morning when Kiruthika reached the site to perform a ground breaking ceremony. As the ceremony was on progress, local Tehsildar and Aditional Tehsildar, along with some revenue department officials, reached the site and stopped the construction work going on at the spot. In presence of police, the officials even dug up a trench with the help of a JCB machine in front of the gate so that no construction work coukd be carried out in future. 

As per the available documents, the landed property owned by Lord Lingaraj was wrongfully transferred in the name of some people in 2016 even though the administration took initiative to get it back. Later, Kiruthika had reportedly purchased the plot of 228 decimals from one Hrushikesh Das for Rs 6.45 crore. The entire deal was put on paper on November 5, 2021. 

In the mean time, the Principal Secretary to Revenue and Disaster Management department, Bishnupada Sethi had written a letter to the Khordha district Collector in September 2020, informing him that the land belongs to Lord Lingaraj and steps be taken to reclaim the same. In the letter, Sethy had also advised the Collector to initiate an investigation by the Crime Branch to find out how the ownership was transferred. 

The question now arises is how Kiruthika purchased the land even when the case was sub-judice before the Board of Revenue and the district administration had already started an investigation into it. 
Meanwhile, following the expose, the Opposition parties targeted the government. 

“The present value of the land is Rs 100 crore. Prabhakaran is all set to grab the land. We will never let anyone to grab the land,” said senior Congress leader and Jatni MLA Suresh Routray. 
Hitting out at the government, BJP’s General Secretary Lekhashree Samantasinghar said the valuable piece of land of Lord Lingaraj is hardly half a kilometer away from Naveen Niwas, the residence of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. “Mining contractor Prabhakaran has usurped it and it all happened with the cooperation and full knowledge of the State government and the administration,” she alleged. 

BJP State president Samir Mohanty on Sunday lashed out at the BJD government in Odisha following the revelations over the shocking land grab allegations. Taking a dig at the government, Mohanty mocked that the level of corruption and inefficiency has surged to such a level in the State under the present government that even the Gods are not safe. 

When contacted, Minister Ashok Chandra Panda, who is also the local MLA, said, “The government is making sure that under no circumstances will the landed properties of Lord Lingaraj or those of any other deity within the jurisdiction of the Endowment department be transferred to anyone.”

Meanwhile, even though the owner of the controversial land, Kiruthika did not comment anything over the issue before OTV camera, she justified her stand that she has not done anything wrong. Kiruthika clarified that she has brought the land following due legal procedure and has all necessary land records of ownership.