The Uttarakhand government has recommended a CBI probe into a Rs 240 crore scam in which prime agricultural land was illegally transferred for construction of National Highway-74 coming up in Udham Singh Nagar district.
“We have recommended that the Centre order a CBI probe into the land scam of Rs 240 crore relating to the national highway 74 coming up in US Nagar” chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat told a press conference adding prima facie seven officials were found to be involved in the land fraud.
“All the officials who are of the rank of the sub-divisional magistrate have been placed under suspension pending a CBI probe”, he said. One of them has now retired.
The officials who have been suspended are Dhirendra Pratap Singh, Anil Kumar Shukla, Surendra Singh Jangpangi, Jagish Lal, Bhagat Singh Fonia, N S Naganiyal and Himalaya Singh Martolia. Of the suspended officials Martolia is a retired official whereas Dhirendra Pratap and Shukla are Special Land Acquisition Officers (SLAOs). “A case will be registered against the retired official whereas others have been placed under suspension.
Rawat neither confirmed nor denied the involvement of politicians in the land fraud. “We have recommended a CBI probe. Action would be taken against whosoever would be found guilty”, he said dubbing the land scam as a serious issue. He said the CBI probe was recommended on the basis of an inquiry conducted by the Kumaon commissioner Senthil Pandiyan.
The inquiry has revealed that those involved in the scam changed the use of agricultural land and showed the compensation that was paid about 25 times higher than the actual cost of the farm lands. “No genuine farmer whose land was acquired for the national highway was paid the compensation”, Rawat said.