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Judges’ panel begins probe into land grab by OOA

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Sep 2:

Revenue department officials, under the direct supervision of a three-member judicial committee headed by the Cuttack district judge, today conducted fresh measurement of land allegedly enroached by Odisha Olympic Association (OOA) near the Barabati Stadium.

Barabati Palace

The three-member judicial committee constituted on the directions of the Supreme Court, has Cuttack district judge Satya Narayan Mishra as its head while additional district judges of Cuttack and Kendrapara BK Mishra and Kirti Chandra Barik respectively are the other members.

The measurement exercise began at around 9 AM at the Barabati Stadium premises.

According to Cuttack Sadar tehsildar Abani Patnaik, the district administration had conducted a measurement exercise in the matter last year and had submitted its report to the High Court that OOA had constructed Barabati Palace (Kalyan Mandap) and three shops on encroached government land.

He said the current measurement exercise has been undertaken in line with the Supreme Court’s directions.

The judicial committee will soon submit its report to the Supreme Court, official sources said.

It may be recalled that the Supreme Court on May 7 this 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, would conduct an on-the-spot inquiry. The chief secretary and Revenue secretary were directed by the apex court to assist the panel in its inquiry.

The High Court had earlier directed Cuttack district administration to take possession of Barabati Palace and the other business establishments in November last year. 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.