Former CBI Director Uncovers ₹250 Crore Government Land Scam in Odisha

A major government land scam in Odisha, worth an estimated ₹250 crore, has come to light. Former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director M. Nageswara Rao claims to be a victim of this fraud, revealing a nexus involving powerful IAS and IPS officers and a land mafia.

The Mastermind Identified: Rao alleges that Nrusingha Prasad Sundaray, also known as Babino, orchestrated the scam in collusion with influential figures. The scheme involved the sale of encroached government land using forged documents.

Multiple Transactions on Government Land: According to a Right to Information (RTI) response, a government plot measuring approximately 7.5 acres under Patrapada Mouza, located along a National Highway, was fraudulently sold and purchased at least 27 times.

Involvement of High-Ranking Officials: The fraudulent transactions include names of notable figures such as former Odisha Director General of Police (DGP) Sanjeev Marik’s son, Sudeep Marik (in 2009), former Director of Intelligence R.P. Koche (in 2010), and Rao’s own family members (in 2011).

Rao’s Personal Experience

Rao, an IPS officer, states that he too fell prey to the scam. Despite filing a First Information Report (FIR) in 2015, Rao’s case wasn’t pursued due to the involvement of powerful individuals. He recounts being introduced to Babino by his colleague, Shyam Sundar Hansdah, and purchasing land after being assured of its legitimacy. Rao explains that after discovering the land was government property, he reported the fraud to the Superintendent of Police, Economic Offences Wing (EOW). However, the FIR was not registered due to the influence of high-ranking officials, leaving him with no option but to accept a deed of cancellation and recover his money.

The Role of Key Individuals

Nrusingha is reported to be the brother of a former BJD corporator and the brother-in-law of current corporator Sanjukta Sundaray. His connections allegedly facilitated the manipulation of land records and the illicit acquisition of government land, which was then sold to various influential figures.

Allegations extend beyond the primary scam to suggest that Nrusingha has also encroached on an additional 1.5 acres of forest land near Smruti Bana in the state capital. He is accused of constructing multi-storey buildings and market complexes on this land by bribing corrupt officials to obtain necessary approvals.

The Scale of the Scam

The Odisha Soochana Adhikar Abhijan (OSAA) has disclosed that the open market valuation of the illegally possessed lands is around ₹250 crore. This highlights the magnitude of the fraud and the extensive impact on state resources. No comments have been obtained from other involved IPS officers or from Nrusingha regarding the allegations, further fueling suspicions of high-level complicity and cover-up in the scandal.

The revelations by M. Nageswara Rao shed light on the depth of corruption and the powerful networks involved in land fraud in Odisha. This case underscores the need for rigorous scrutiny and accountability in government land transactions to prevent such extensive fraud in the future.

(With inputs from agencies)

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