Mrunal Manmay Dash

After 20 years of struggle for the rights of a land auctioned by the Odisha State Financial Corporation (OSFC), the family of the buyer has now got justice. Exposing the negligence by the Finance Corporation, the Sambalpur district consumer court directed the OSFC to pay a compensation of Rs 1.05 crore to the complainant, litigation cost of Rs 50,000 and Rs 20 lakh to the District Consumer Welfare Fund.

As per reports, one Vinod Kumar Sablaka from Sambalpur had bought 7.4 decimals of land for Rs 4.21 lakh from the auction by the OSFC in 2005. However, after buying the land, he could not transfer it in his own name.

Despite repeated complaints to the finance corporation, none of the officials gave any clue. When he went for registration in 2022 on the orders of the High Court, he came to know that the type of land he had bought is actually of ‘Anabadi’ type and belonged to the government. So the land could not be registered in his own name.

“My father had bought this land from the OSFC in an auction in 2005. But when we went to the Deputy Sub-Registrar’s office for registration of the land, he told us the land could not be registered in our name as it is a government ‘Anabadi’ land. The OSFC kept us in the dark for all these years,” alleged Vinod’s son Ravikant Sablaka.

Substantiating his allegations, Sambalpur DSR Surya Samal said, “We found the land as ‘Anabadi’ after verification. It was wrongly sold to him through an auction. We refused them registration and told them the land can only be transferred in their names after settlement.”

In 1975, the Odisha State Finance Corporation had kept the land as a mortgage for Rs 42,700 and gave a loan to one Gajanand Babaiwala. When Babaiwala defaulted on the repayment, the OSFC decided to auction the mortgaged land to recover money. At that time, the land was not checked either. Even at the time of bidding, the corporation had called for the auction without knowing the type of it.

The complainant felt cheated and he approached the consumer court. Now that the verdict in the case has come, the court has asked the OSFC to pay interest at the rate of 4 per cent per annum if the compensation is not paid within a month. However, there was no response from the department officials.

“The case was filed by the widow of Vinod, Manju Sablaka. Her husband had bought a piece of land measuring 7.4 decimal in auction from the OSFC. But the DSR found that as government land during verification. So the consumer court has ordered the OSFC to pay Rs 1 crore 5 lakh to the complainant,” said the counsel of the complainant Prem Prakash Panigrahi.

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