• otv
Ramakanta Biswas

Bhubaneswar: After calling out several chinks in Odisha government's armour, former bureaucrat Taradatt in his book ‘Highlander’s Plainspeak: An Administrative Rede’, claimed that an attempt was made to kill him for trying to retrieve government land from illegal possession of an influential politician.

Highlighting the nexus among political leaders, government officials and mafia in grabbing government land in Odisha and the difficulties he had to go through while freeing the land from illegal possession, the former Additional Chief Secretary of Odisha wrote, "I survived an inexplicable road accident in Bhubaneswar soon after I left my residence en route to the office. My office car was hit by a speeding vehicle from behind."

The murder attempt was made when Taradatt was trying to retrieve five acre of government land near Bhubaneswar from the possession of the family of an influential politician. Without taking the name, Taradatt said the influential politician was earlier a minister in the state cabinet and had been nominated to Rajya Sabha.

The special cell had recovered more than five acre of land near Bhubaneswar from the politician's family. Besides, a big chunk of land was also retrieved from the owner of a reputed daily newspaper who also happened to be an MP, Taradutt mentioned in his book.

He said that within a period of three years during his tenure, more than 15,000 acre of valuable government land in illegal possession of land mafia was identified of which 7,500 acres were fully demarcated by erecting boundary walls, pillars or fencing.

He stated in his book that after taking over as the Revenue department secretary his priority was completion of settlement and consolidation operations in 2,281 pending villages, implementation of National Land Records Modernisation Programme (NLRMP) and retrieval of government land from illegal possession.

Without taking names, he said an ASO of Odisha Revenue Service (ORS) in Bhubaneswar Tehsil was found hand in glove with a known member of land mafia who ran a number of educational institutions, including a medical college and an engineering college.

He claimed over 100 acre of government land in Bhubaneswar and Jatani tehsil have been illegally grabbed by some educational institutions. He also alleged that some elected representatives of the urban local body had encouraged some slum dwellers to take illegal possession of peripheral land classified as forest land.

Former chief secretary Sahadev Sahu backed the narrative of Taradutt and said most of the claims are true.

"In politics, anything can happen, truth can be falsified. But unfortunately, nobody is there to expose it. I cannot say everything he is saying in his book is true, but most of the facts are true," Sahu said.

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