Pradeep Pattanayak

Senior Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan demanded that the state government return the lands acquired for the proposed Vedanta University in Puri to their owners. 

Addressing a press conference, Bhushan said a notice will soon be served to the government. 

“We will serve a notice to the state government. Thereafter, if the government doesn’t return the lands to the owners, we will file a contempt at the Supreme Court. To me, what the government has done is clearly a major crime under the Prevention of Corruption Act. It is obviously a crime. Its investigation should be done by an SIT or CBI,” he said. 

However, no reactions could be obtained from the state government. 

Notably, the Supreme Court had on April 12 termed the acquisition of 10,000 acres of land for the proposed project as illegal. 

Then, the Supreme Court had reprimanded the Odisha government and imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on Vedanta. The Orissa High Court in 2010 quashed the process of land acquisition for the university and directed the authorities to return the acquired land to their owners.

Later, the Odisha government and the Anil Agarwal Foundation had moved the Supreme Court to save the proposed Rs 15,000-crore Vedanta University project in Puri. 

The Odisha government had signed an agreement with Vedanta Foundation for the university in 2006.