Sahara accused of trying to sell Jharkhand forest land

  • Sanjay Sahay, Hindustan Times, Ranchi
  • Updated: Jul 28, 2016 14:29 IST
Sahara India Pariwar chief Subrata Roy. (HT Photo)

Sahara India Pariwar chief Subrata Roy, who is struggling to raise bail money fixed at Rs 10,000 crore by the Supreme Court, has suffered yet another setback — this time in Jharkhand.

PR Naidu, a young Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer, has objected to plans of the Sahara India Real Estate Corporate Limited (SIRECL) to sell 58 acres of land in Chas block. The officer has alleged that large chunks of the land are marked as forestland in the record books.

Naidu has petitioned the apex court and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) to prevent SIRECL from auctioning the areas mentioned. “We have the maps and land deeds to substantiate our claim. I have learnt that farmers and land brokers have duped the company by selling the land to them, showcasing it as private land. Although the company was cheated, it has no legal claim on the land and — therefore — cannot sell it off,” the officer said.

The company bought big plots in areas notified by the forest department, Naidu said, adding that a fresh survey would clear all doubts. Though senior SIRECL officials could not be contacted, junior officials at the company’s offices in Bokaro and Ranchi said their legal department was handling the case. There was no dispute regarding the company’s rightful claim on the said land, they added.

With the issue turning into a major controversy, Bokaro deputy commissioner Rai Mahimapat Ray has ordered a fresh survey of the land. He said that a team, comprising an additional collector, a sub-divisional officer and a divisional forest officer, would survey the land records on Saturday. They would also conduct physical verification of the land.

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