Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, May 30:
Odisha Vigilance sleuths probing the land allocation scam in Cuttack Development Authority (CDA) are at their wit’s end wondering where to begin the investigation into the abuse of the discretionary quota (DQ) provision and whom to catch.
The 50 odd files they have seized from the CDA so far have unveiled a saga of gross misuse of the much-maligned provision to benefit influential persons-politicians, MLAs, senior officials, businessmen, doctors and lawyers. The trepidation of vigilance officials increase with each new file seized because it reveals how the rules have been bent and even thrown out of the window for the high and mighty.
Sources in the Vigilance directorate said sleuths have come across startling facts in many files during their investigations. A majority of the files are devoid of the bare minimum information. Whatever little information is provided is invariably flawed and in many cases bogus.
Officials are also scared to move ahead with their investigations since most of the beneficiaries are influential persons, revealed sources.
According to sources, the preliminary investigations by the Vigilance department are limited to plots and houses allotted under the discretionary quota.
Notably, Markatnagar was conceptualized and allocation of land in this newly developed area began through CDA way back in 1985. According to available records, a total of 10,793 plots and 68 houses were allocated in sectors 6, 7,8,9,10,11 and 13 of CDA by 2010.
Generally, plots and houses have been allotted using four methods. While several plots have been allotted through the draw of lots method as per rules, houses and plots have also been allotted through the discretionary quota, auction and special plans.
Maximum irregularities have been committed in the case of allotments done under discretionary quota.
According to records, a total of 945 plots have been allotted through discretionary quota in different sectors of Markatnagar.
As per rules anyone not having a house or a plot in Cuttack city area is entitled for an allotment under the discretionary quota.
The testimonials furnished by allotees in most cases of the discretionary allotments are flawed. In most of the cases, the allotees have furnished false affidavits.
Though the rules bar allocation of plots in CDA to residents of Cuttack city, at least 22 out of the plots under the discretionary quota were found to have been allocated to people with their permanent address in Cuttack urban area.
On the other hand, 171 allottees who had availed plots under the discretionary quota hade sold their plots by 2014.
The investigation by the vigilance department has also found that CDA officials had looked the other way while the rules were being blatantly flouted.
Interestingly, the CDA has no detailed records of the notifications and rules under which the allotment of houses and plots were made. Under such circumstances, Vigilance department would require at least a year or more to get all files from the CDA to take forward its investigations, said Vigilance department officials in the know of things.