Naveen washes off hands in land deal

Bhubaneswar: Amid allegation of misuse of discretionary quota for allotment of government land to influential people including judges, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday sought to wash off his hands and said specific complaint of illegality would be examined.

Patnaik, also in-charge of General Administration Department which controls land in the state capital, claimed that no government land had been allotted to any judge during his over 11 years tenure as chief minister.

"However, if Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) or Cuttack Development Authority (CDA) have made any such allotments under their discretionary quota, those files do not come to me," Patnaik told reporters replying to a  question on alleged misuse of quota by some urban development ministers. "If specific complaints of illegality come, it will be examined," he said.

The chief minister also refuted allegation made by senior BJP leader and former Urban Development Minister, K V Singh Deo that his father late Biju Patnaik had allotted Lord Lingaraj`s land in the name of his wife Gyan Patnaik when he was chief minister in 1961.

"No land has been allotted as far as `Naveen Niwas` (CM`s parental house) is concerned from any discretionary quota by any chief minister. Additional land of `Naveen Niwas` was settled following due process of law," Patnaik said, adding the additional land was registered in the name of his mother much before Biju Patnaik became chief minister in 1961.

Patnaik also denied Singhdeo`s charge that the additional land of `Naveen Niwas` belonged to Lord Lingaraj. To whether his government would abolish discretionary quota system, Patnaik said "I am informed there are certain Supreme Court guidelines in the matter, we`ll look into it."

Earlier, Singhdeo refuted allegation of irregularities in allotment of land under discretionary quota during his tenure as urban development miniser.

"There was no violaton of rules and procedures while alloting land from the quota. Proper procedures were followed and there was no deviation from laid down norms," he said, adding those allotted land from discretionary quota had to pay the normal price fixed for land without any concession.

Stating that he would welcome any probe into the matter by an independent agency including CBI, Singhdeo said "those living in glass houses should not throw stones at others."