3 govt officials among 7 held for fraudulent land allocation
The Bikaner police have arrested seven people, including three revenue department officials, in connection with the fraudulent allocation of land, a part of which was allegedly bought by companies owned by Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.
Altogether 18 cases had been filed, including four that involved land which Vadra’s companies had reportedly bought, police said on Tuesday. The so-called mastermind in the fraud, Jai Prakash Bangarwa, was arrested on Monday, bringing the total number of people held in the case to seven.
Bikaner superintendent of police Santosh Kumar Chalke said Bangarwa was arrested on charges of preparing fake mutation (transfer of land ownership) of around 360 hectares of land in Bikaner’s Kolayat region in connivance with revenue department officials.
“Bangarwa was arrested in one of the 18 cases and he would be booked and arrested in rest of the 17 cases also. So far we have arrested three revenue officials, a naib tehsildar, a patwari, a girdawar and three private persons in the matter” said Chalke.
The officer said of the 18 cases, there are four cases which involve land bought by Vadra’s companies. He said a separate probe in the land dealings was also going on at the level of the district administration and revenue department.
"Bangarwa is the former chairman of Loonkaransar Krishi mandi. Police investigators have found that fake and forged documents were prepared at Bangarwa’s residence where revenue officials often visited and connived in preparing these documents," said Chalke.
He said documents were forged to acquire 360 hectares of land for the so-called rehabilitation of people who had been fraudulently shown as displaced by a local firing range. The land was then sold to private companies, including those of Vadra.
The police booked and arrested Bangarwa and six others under sections 420, 120-B and others of the IPC. Chalke said some more arrests are likely in the case.
In January, the revenue department cancelled the mutation of the contentious 360 hectare land at Kolayat tehsil. According to officials at Bikaner registrar office, the land deals were made in 2009 in the name of various companies, including Sky Light Hospitality Private Limited, Blue Birdge Trading Private Limited, Skylight Reality Pvt Ltd, Real Earth Estates Pvt Ltd, and North India IT Park Pvt Ltd.