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HindustanTimes Thu,24 Jul 2014

Quiet burial for Rajarhat land probe

Soumen Datta, Hindustan Times  Kolkata, August 22, 2013
First Published: 11:26 IST(22/8/2013) | Last Updated: 11:29 IST(22/8/2013)

The Mamata Banerjee government seems to have given a quiet burial to its much-touted probe into what it calls the Rajarhat land scam during the previous Left regime.

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Soon after winning the 2011 Assembly polls, the chief minister, herself, had said that her government would actively pursue the land scam that would nail many leaders of the CPI(M).

It has been 18 months since the government announced that a retired judge of Calcutta High Court would investigate the matter, but justice Ranen-dranarayan Roy is yet to receive his appointment letter.

“I haven’t received any official request from the state government. I learnt from newspapers that I’m chairman of the commission of inquiry,” justice Roy told Hindustan Times.

Bureaucrats were evasive on the matter.

“I can’t comment on this since I was in Cooch Behar as observer during the panchayat polls. The file’s lying with the higher authorities and they’ll be able to say whether the appointment letter has been issued,” said Chandan Chayan Guha, joint secretary of the home department.

The attitude of the state government is mysterious, to say the least.

In the run-up to the Assembly elections in 2011, the Trinamool Congress campaigned vociferously against what the party claimed was a well-plotted land grab by CPI(M) leaders in the name of building a satellite township at Rajarhat.

Farmers, Mamata Banerjee claimed, were cheated.

Among those in the Trinamool firing line was Gautam Deb, senior CPI(M) leader and the then housing minister.

After assuming power, the chief minister kept up the pressure and the government on March 19, 2012, issued a notification appointing a commission of inquiry to probe the alleged scam with retired Calcutta High Court judge Ranendranarayan Roy as its chairman.

Prior to this notification, the government in December 2011 had issued the first notification appointing justice Ranajit Kumar Mitra to head the probe panel.

But after HT reported that justice Mitra himself got a plot of land in Rajarhat from the HIDCO chairman’s special quota, the judge expressed his inability to conduct the probe.

In January 2012, HT reported that a section of Trinamool Congress ministers, MPs and intellectuals close to the ruling party got plots of land at Rajarhat under the chairman’s quota. Among them were power minister Manish Gupta, Lok Sabha MP Tapas Pal, painter Subhaprasanna and others.


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