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Land Grab In Bhubaneswar: Crime Branch Seeks More Time From Lokayukta For Probe

Bhubaneswar: Even after almost five years, Odisha Police Crime Branch is yet to make any tangible headway in the sensational Ghangapatna land grab. Though it was alleged that valuable government land was usurped by several influential people and leaders of the ruling party in connivance with government officials, the investigating agency is yet to nab the real culprits.

Hence, the investigating agency has sought six months’ time from the Lokayukta to complete the probe.

“It is unfortunate that innocent people were arrested, but influential people, who are the actual culprits, are still at large,” said Satyashiv Sundar Behera, a local resident.

The mega land scam was exposed by OTV after it found that roads and boundary walls were constructed on the government land at Ghangapatna area on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar. In August 2014, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had ordered a crime branch probe.

The investigating agency was asked to submit a report after conducting a probe within two months. Though over five years have passed, the main conspirators are still beyond the reach of the crime branch.

Sources said that the entire purview of the probe has been limited to the arrest of some tribals and action against a handful of administrative officials. After the matter reached Lokayukta, the investigating agency has now sought six months’ time to complete its probe.

As per the Crime Branch report, land scam allegations were received against two companies—Gokarneswar Charitable Trust whose trustee is ruling party MLA Pranab Balabantray and one Nivritti Exports which is headed by the daughter of BJP leader KV Singhdeo. It is alleged that several political bigwigs illegally encroached upon several acre of land originally leased in favour of tribal people.

There is still no clarity on the type and state of the 12 acre land when it was bought by the two companies. Interestingly, in the report submitted to the Lokayukta, there is no mention of the expenses incurred by the Panchayati Raj department towards construction of a road on the particular land. It is still a mystery on whose instructions the road was being constructed on the Forest land and who hatched a conspiracy to usurp the government land.

“The report submitted by Crime Branch before Lokayukta is misleading as several facts have been suppressed by the investigating agency. The probing agency has not arrested the main culprits Pranab Balbantray and KV Singhdeo’s daughter,” alleged social activist, Pradip Pradhan.

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