Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Mar 12:
Odisha Olympic Association (OOA) Joint Secretary Rabindra Parida was appointed the acting Secretary of OOA after Ashirbad Behera was relieved of his duties today.
As per information provided by Vice President of OOA Pratap Satpathy, Behera handed over his responsibilities to Parida at the OOA council meeting held at Cuttack today.
“In its March 9 order, the Supreme Court had asked OOA Secretary Ashirbad Behera to step down until April 13, 2016. Based on the order, Ashirbad Behera today stepped down and Rabindra Parida has been appointed as the new acting Secretary of OOA unanimously,” said Satpathy addressing a press conference after the meeting.
Notably, in an interim order, the Supreme Court on March 9 had directed Behera to stay away from his post till April 13 — the date of the next hearing in the OOA land grab case. The apex court, in its order, also directed the joint secretary of OOA to take charge of the general secretary’s post till the next hearing.
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.