The Gujarat revenue department on Tuesday announced that a special investigation team (SIT) will be formed to probe serious allegations of irregularities in land deals in the state. The announcement has come days after several landowners in Navsari district alleged that they were duped of crores of rupees by fraudsters in connivance with local revenue officials.
The three-member SIT will comprise a retired district or sessions judge, a retired police officer of deputy superintendent of police rank and a retired revenue officer, preferably of IAS rank, Revenue Minister Rajendra Trivedi said. "We will forward all complaints of serious nature to the three-member SIT after scrutiny. The SIT will conduct a thorough probe and unearth the truth. We are in no mood to spare the guilty," Trivedi said.
Trivedi had recently come across a racket in which some fraudsters, in connivance with local revenue officers of Navsari district, had siphoned off crores of rupees meant to be paid to land owners as compensation for land acquisition for the proposed Vadodara-Mumbai Expressway. In all, 12 land owners of Chikhli taluka, from where the highway will pass, were duped by fraudsters using fake consent letters, power of attorney and other forged documents, the minister said.
"The fraudsters, with the help of a lawyer and revenue officials, showed themselves as landowners and used forged documents to claim the compensation, which runs in crores of rupees. Instead of the actual owners of the land, the compensation against the acquired land went to these accused," Trivedi said. "In all, we have unearthed 12 such cases. The Navsari police have already registered an FIR and the process is on for 11 other cases," he said.
The collector has also been directed to probe the issue. As per the department's estimates, nearly Rs 1 crore has been siphoned off by the accused in each of these 12 cases, he added. In the first FIR, the complainant Fatmaben Mayat (82) of Alipore village in Chikhli, has alleged that the fraudsters used forged consent letters and power attorney of her and her relatives, some of them deceased, to claim a compensation of Rs 2.12 crore against the land acquired for the highway, it was stated.
With inputs from PTI