A week after reports surfaced about Chhattisgarh Minister Brijmohan Agrawal’s wife Sarita Agarwal building a resort on 4.12 hectares of state forest land, chief minister Raman Singh has intervened into the matter and has sought for an official report of the deal. Getting deeper into the issue, officials have found that around 13.9 hectares of government land was encroached upon the project, reported Indian Express. The investigation, headed by the Mahasamund district revenue officials, also states that encroachment notices were sent four months ago to Aditya Srijan Pvt Ltd., the company which acquired the land. Brijmohan Agrawal’s wife Sarita and son Abhishek Agarwal are the directors of the aforementioned firm. However, the company had replied to the notices stating that the land acquired was within their property’s boundaries and had later also offered the government another piece of land.
The paper, on July 25, also reported that 4.12 hectres of land which was donated by a farmer to the Water Resources Department in 1994 was transferred to the Forest Department with Rs 22.90 lakh spent on it in 2003 for conversion. During that time, the land was reportedly purchased by minster’s wife. The report also claims that showcause notice has been sent to Aditya Srijan Pvt Ltd on March 15 by the tehsildar of Mahasamund district stating them of encroachment of government land.
“According to the note prepared by the patwari, 13.90 hectares of government land situated in Jalki village has been encroached, and has been cordoned off. This land is registered to various government departments. Therefore, please appear before the tehsildar’s court on March 20 and show cause as to why you should not be punished under the Chhattisgarh Bhu-Rajaswa (Land Revenue) Act 1959, and be evicted,” read the notice.
In March, after asked to appear before tehsildar’s court, two representatives from the company showed up stating that they had been sent by Sarita Agarwal. While explaining their stand, the representatives said that 15 patches of land, totalling 13.90 hectares fell in between their land. “The land falls in between our land and no work has been done on this, and no crop has been sown either. We want to exchange this land with our own existing land),” they said.
Later, acknowledging their statements, the tehsildar wrote to Aditya Srijan Pvt Ltd again within a week, stating that 13.90 hectares that land registered to various government departments has been encroached and cordoned off.
Lately the Chattisgarh CM had asked the Chief Secretary to look into the matter. However, both Agarwal and his wife have retaliated to the accusations saying that they have not done anything wrong as they were unaware of the land belonging to the Forest department. However, the complainant Lalit Chandranahu, of the Kisaan Mazdoor Sangh Mahasamund has been in constant touch with the Minister and has reportedly sent a letter informing Agrawal about the land and spoke to him on the phone.