Jharkhand: CBI books priest for selling ‘Lord Ram’s land’
The priest incorporated a clause in the new deed that permits conversion and transfer of trust’s property for construction of flats. He obtained the mandatory permission from the Jharkhand State Hindu Religious Trust Board for conversion/transfer/sale of trust’s property.Updated: Aug 13, 2017 16:59 IST
A Hindu priest and his associates in Ranchi have been booked by the CBI for selling off ‘Lord Ram’s land’ illegally to private parties.
Priest Ram Sharan Das of Ram Janki Tapowan Mandir and many unknown persons, including government officials, builders and land mafias, have been charged with illegal sale/transfer of about 19 acres of land belonging to the temple’s trust for construction of multi-storied buildings. These land are scattered at prime locations in the city.
CBI’s anti-corruption branch in Ranchi has registered an FIR against the priest and other unknown persons, including officials of Ranchi Regional Development Authority (RRDA), following a June 7 order of the Jharkhand high court.
The court, while hearing a PIL, had noted down that the trust namely Shree Ram Janki Tapowan Mandir Trust was founded by late Janki Jivan Sharan in 1948 by execution of a trust deed for the sole purpose of maintaining the properties of the deities—Ram and Janki—who are perpetual minors. It had pointed out that the trust is only the custodian of the properties endowed to the deities. Ordering a CBI probe into the matter, the court had said that land of the deities could not have been alienated by way of sale/transfer for construction of multistoried buildings.
The CBI’s FIR, lodged on August 10 (HT is in possession of the FIR’s copy) alleged that the priest, with an ulterior motive, had conspired to reconstitute a fresh trust deed in 2005 by cancelling the earlier deed of 1987. In the new deed, he showed himself as the founder of the trust for being a disciple of original founder.
The accused priest, with a view to usurping the deities’ properties, incorporated a clause in the new deed that permits conversion and transfer of trust’s property for construction of flats. He further obtained the mandatory permission from the Jharkhand State Hindu Religious Trust Board for conversion/transfer/sale of trust’s property. He fraudulently got the board’s permission approved by the Ranchi’s judicial commissioner by suppressing facts, the CBI’s FIR said.
It was alleged that the priest thereafter entered into various development agreements with several persons and dishonestly sold out the properties of the deities/trust. RRDA officials allegedly connived with the priest and other land sharks to sanction building maps for construction of flats and apartments on these land, the FIR said.
The CBI registered the case under Sections 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
A senior CBI official in Ranchi said, “Investigation has been commenced. We are gathering evidences to identify those unknown persons involved in the land scam.”
First Published: Aug 13, 2017 13:59 IST