Bhopal, Dec 14 : A day after Chief Minister Kamal Nath gave a free hand to the police and administrative machinery to crack down on various Mafiosi, the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) registered an FIR against a housing society where family members of former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan were fraudulently allotted plots.
Efforts to bring the land mafia to book were allegedly thwarted by Chouhan. The agency registered an FIR under sections of the IPC that relate to conspiracy, forgery and criminal breach of trust, against more than 20 office-bearers of Rohit Grih Nirman Sahakari Sanstha in Bhopal.
Ghanshyam Rajput, a BJP official, was named as the main accused. An advocate and an accountant have also been named. EOW officials said that the investigation will focus fraudulent transactions and disappearance of documents.
Irregularities in Rohit Grih Nirman Sahakari Sanstha were repeatedly raised in the Assembly by the Congress when it was in the Opposition. It had accused the former CM of using his influence to fraudulently allot more than a dozen plots to his relatives.
Numerous complaints were raised about the allotment of plots and fraudulent bank transactions in the society, which is spread over 100 acres. The embezzlement is to the tune of Rs 22.70 crore.
The society's initial membership was 1,900, but the memberships of 400 persons were cancelled citing various reasons. The fraud relates to allotment against these 400 plots. An EOW official said money collected from members and deposited in the society's bank accounts was fraudulently withdrawn.
Of the 400 people whose memberships were cancelled, some could not register their plots as they had already been sold and registered in others' names. The district administration promised plots to them in another area and they were asked to pay Rs 4.5 lakh each.
The Cooperative Department has joined the campaign against land mafia by digging up files of housing societies in Bhopal, Indore, Jabalpur and Gwalior. Most of these housing societies are in the clutches of land mafia. They captured the society bypassing the governing bodies and sold plots to non-members instead of the eligible members.
More than 40,000 disputed cases have now come up for investigations. Nearly 10,000 such plots have also been identified, which can be given to the people.
Cooperative Minister Govind Singh said the department will assign special officers to speed up action against land mafia. Principal Secretary to the department, Ajit Kesari, said the additional strength will expedite hearing on disputes involving all housing societies.
Nearly 3,000 acres land of different housing societies are disputed in Bhopal and Indore alone. There are 876 housing societies in Indore. Of these, 162 are on the verge of liquidation and another 374 are virtually defunct. While 75 colonies have been completed, 87 housing societies have not done any work. In 120 societies the colonies are left unfinished.
Similarly, there are 580 housing societies in Bhopal, out of which 104 are in the process of closure. As many as 235 are non-functional.
There has been a crackdown in Jabalpur on the land encroached by another mafia, Razzaq Pahelwan, who also owns a newspaper and has covered storm water drain in large parts of the town.