SC orders CBI probe into OOA land grab on Barabati Stadium premises

Bhubaneswar: Supreme Court on Monday ordered for probe by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the irregularities and land allegedly encroached upon by Odisha Olympics Association (OOA) on Barabati Stadium premises in Cuttack.

Besides, the apex court has also debarred sports administrator and former secretary of OOA & Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) Ashirbad Behera from contesting elections for any post in the OOA.

A Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Dipak Mishra and PC Pant came out with the ruling basing on the report of the Accountant General (AG).

“It is directed that Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) shall investigate the matter in view of the Accountant General (AG) report and other aspects which pertain to 23 shops and Kalyan Mandap (Barabati Palace),” read the court order.

The apex court’s order seeks ascertain as to whether litigious commercial complexes built by OOA are within the leasehold area and as per lease agreement as the sporting body has been claiming.

The bench has termed the agreement entered into by the OOA with M/s INCON Associates is absolutely illegal.

Earlier, the Odisha High Court in an order issued in November 2015 had directed the collector of Cuttack to take over possession of properties on 0.705 acres of encroached land adjacent to the 20.808 acres.

The land was granted on lease to the OOA in 1949 for construction of the stadium.

Sources said, OOA has built a commercial complex comprising 23 shops and a Kalyan Mandap, known as Barabati Palace on government land close to the stadium.

The Court also directed the Cuttack district administration to take possession of the 23 shops at Kalyan Mandap.

The Revenue department shall be entitled to continue the tenancy and maintain the Kalyan Mandap and manage its affairs through Cuttack Collector.

Ashirbad Behera (73) was at the helm of OCA for almost 16 years in a row. He was first elected as secretary in August 2012.  He also served as secretary of OOA for 28 years since 1988.

Behera along with OCA president Ranjib Biswal and other officials had stepped down on January 4, 2017 following a Supreme Court order regarding implementation of the Lodha Panel reforms in cricket.

Reacting on the fresh order, Behera said that he had earlier also stayed away from OOA affairs following a SC order and further has no interest in holding any posts.

“I welcome the Supreme Court’s direction,” said Behera.

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