The land mafia in the Jharkhand capital spares nobody, not even the kith and kin of those who have brought glory to the nation in the years gone by.
Police said land grabbers, in connivance with real estate agents, recently tried to acquire 5.12 acres of land belonging to Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s relatives by propping up a fake heir.
The family of Tagore’s elder brother, Hemendranath, had purchased the land in Ranchi’s Gari locality about a century ago. It was transferred to his grandson, the late Hridindranath Tagore, over the years. Though Hridindranath’s grandson – Himendranath – is now the de facto owner of the land, it is yet to be officially transferred to his name.
The Tagore family has been depositing lagaan (revenue fee) for the land – worth Rs 7 crore – at the Ranchi circle office for decades. “However, when I visited the circle office to deposit the lagaan in October 2015, I was told that the money has already been submitted. I couldn’t understand how that happened. One has to show the last original receipt to deposit the fee,” Himendranath told HT over the phone from Kolkata.
It came to light in July 2016 that the money was deposited by a person identifying himself as Sunondo Tagore. “I immediately lodged an FIR with the Ranchi Sadar police station. I also filed complaints with all the departments concerned – including the office of the Ranchi deputy commissioner – proclaiming that nobody called Sunondo Tagore existed in my family,” said Himendranath.
Ranchi police investigated the complaint to find that Sunondo Tagore, who claimed to be a descendant of the family, deposited the lagaan by submitting fake documents. He then sold the land to builders for Rs 6.5 crore, taking an advance fee of Rs 5.5 crore for the same. However, police unearthed the scam before they could take possession of the land.
“Sunondo had presented a fake khatian (land record) in the name of one Mahindranath Tagore. After cross-checking with the additional collectorate, we found that the land was registered in the name of Hridindranath Tagore,” said deputy superintendent of police (Sadar police station) Vikash Chandra Srivastava.
The police officer said Sunondo took advantage of the bad condition of the original land document to get the lagaan receipt. “We found that the front page of the land record was torn, and two letters – H and R – were missing. Then we visited Jorasanko Thakur Bari in north Kolkata, where Tagore’s descendants confirmed that they did not know anybody called Sunondo,” he added.
Ranchi police have launched a hunt for the accused.
When HT reached the site on Monday, it found a nameplate bearing the name HN Tagore on its outer boundary wall. Two security guards had also been deputed at the spot.
Rabindranath Tagore’s family enjoys an age-old association with the Jharkhand capital. His elder brother, Jyotindranath, stayed for nearly 13 years at a place now known as Tagore Hill. Captivated by the beauty of the hillock, he settled there in 1912. He built two monuments – Brahma Sthal and Shanti Dham – at the spot before breathing his last at Shanti Dham in 1925.