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BJP stages dharna; demands CBI probe into Odisha land scam

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Reported by Chinmaya Dehury

Bhubaneswar, Aug 26:

The Odisha BJP today staged a dharna in front of Raj Bhawan here demanding a CBI probe into the Ghangapatana land encroachment case and massive irregularities in land allotment by the ruling BJD government. The party alleged that the scam had taken place in the full knowledge and concurrence of chief minister Naveen Patnaik.

Photo: Biswaranjan Mishra
Photo: Biswaranjan Mishra

The party later submitted a memorandum to Governor SC Jamir requesting him to direct the government to conduct an inquiry by the CBI into the whole scam starting from the year 2000 in order to put the real culprits behind the bars.

Coming out of Raj Bhavan after submitting the memorandum to the governor, BJP state unit president Kanak Vardhan Singhdeo said the latter had promised to look into the memo and take appropriate action.

“The  honourable  governor told us that he is aware of the whole matter from the spate of reports that have appeared in the media on the issue over the last few days. He assured us that he would write to the government after going through the contents of the letter,” Singhdeo said.

Senior BJP leader Bijoy Mohapatra said the agitation would continue till the demand for a CBI probe into the scam is conceded. “We will take the agitation to the whole of the state and would not rest till a CBI inquiry is ordered,” Mohapatra said.

The memorandum submitted to the governor said even though the allotments grossly violated the rules of the land, the chief minister was trying to suppress the facts in order to protect the culprits.

“A former minister of the state, who is a MP and his MLA son, senior bureaucrats and several other BJD functionaries have illegally and fraudulently grabbed about 200 acres of forest land and land belonging to department of Revenue, General Administration and Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) in their own names in the full knowledge and concurrence of the chief minister of the state,” said the memorandum.

“Seeing the entire land scam in the state, it is clear that nepotism, favouritism, chicanery and arbitrariness have now become the new rule of the administration. Evidently, the GA department, which is headed by the chief minister, has followed these principles in the allotment of land to various entities,” it said.

Criticising the government for disregarding the High Court order, which had directed it to formulate a policy for land allotment, it said that the government sat over the decision till now fuelling corruption in the allotment process and the CAG has also exposed the government for its act of omission and commission.

The BJP leaders, in the memorandum, said that the task force formed by the government to inquiry into the scam is an eyewash and is meant to protect the culprits.