Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi/Cuttack, Mar 9:
In a major jolt to Odisha Olympic Association (OAA) general secretary Asirbad Behera, the Supreme Court of India (SC) today in an interim order directed Behera to stay away from his post till April 13-the date for the next hearing in the OOA land grab case.
The SC in its order also directed the joint secretary of OOA to take charge of the general secretary’s post till the next hearing.
Behera in his reactions on the apex court’s ruling has said: “I humbly accept the interim order of the apex court. Since today is a holiday I have handed over charge to OAA joint secretary Rabindra Parida to run the day to day affairs of the sports body. The next hearing in the case has been fixed for April 13. I will obey whatever order is passed by the court.”
A three-member judicial committee constituted on the directions of the Supreme Court with Cuttack district judge Satya Narayan Mishra as its head and additional district judges of Cuttack and Kendrapara BK Mishra and Kirti Chandra Barik respectively are the other members submitted its report to the apex court on September 30 last year.
It may be recalled that the Supreme Court on May 7 last year had ordered formation of a judges’ committee to investigate and find out whether the Barabati Palace (Kalyan Mandap) and adjoining 23 shops were built on encroached land or on property owned by the OOA.
The court had also directed the Odisha Accountant General (AG) to submit a report on the financial transactions of Barabati Palace and other business establishments adjacent to it allegedly built on land encroached by OOA.
According to the apex court’s directives, a committee headed by the district judge, Cuttack with two more additional judges nominated by the Chief Justice of Odisha High Court as its members, was asked to conduct an on-the-spot inquiry. The chief secretary and Revenue secretary were directed to assist the panel in its inquiry.
The district administration had conducted a measurement exercise in the matter in 2014 and had submitted its report to the High Court that OOA had constructed Barabati Palace and three shops on encroached government land, according to Revenue department sources.
Following which the High Court had directed Cuttack district administration to take possession of Barabati Palace and the other business establishments in November 2014. This apart, the court had also asked the Crime Branch to investigate the activities of OOA.
However, OOA had later challenged the High Court’s order in the Supreme Court.