Thursday, March 21, 2024

SIT probe by Economic Offences Unit ordered in Gaya land case: Patna High Court

In Cleartech Farming Private Limited v. State of Bihar, Patna High Court has passed a judgement directing the D.G.P., Bihar to get P.S. Case No. 144 of 2023, Amas Thana, Gaya investigated through a SIT headed by an officer of repute in the Economic Offences Unit. It underlined that investigation required into the role of various officials of the State involved in the Consolidation Office, Circle Office, Aamas and Office of the Sub-Registrar, Aamas, in the District of Gaya. The D.G.P., Bihar has been made the competent authority to pass such other order/orders as may be required to unveil the truth.

The petitioner is a private limited company represented through its Director, Shyam Kishore Prasad. The petitioner purchased 23 acres 6 decimal lands by a registered sale deed dated July 25, 2017 from one Khuaza Iradat Jan and his family members.  The petitioner has alleges that on January, 2023 when Shyam Kishore Prasad was getting the land leveled through his contractor, some antisocial elements armed with deadly weapons came to the land of the petitioner and threatened the Director by saying that the land belonged to them, he must leave it otherwise he will be killed. The efforts taken by the Director to convince them that the land belong to the petitioner-company and it has been purchased through registered sale deed went in vain. The specific case of the petitioner is that the Director of the Company was threatened by Jacky Yadav of Gaya along with his associates who were armed with deadly weapons. The petitioner visited Aamas police station on February 6, 2023 and handed over a written application for lodging of the FIR. The FIR was not registered at that time. It was registered on April 19, 2023 but the investigating agency did not take any action to remove them from the site. It is a case of forceful dispossession of the petitioner from the land in question by use of unlawful means taking the law unto his hands. 

The petitioner's counsel submitted that it is the duty of the State to protect the life and property of its citizen. The life of the Director of the petitioner-company and the property of the petitioner are under grave threat and despite complaints lodged with the police, the administration has not taken appropriate steps to dispossess the illegal occupants who have forcibly come on the land of the petitioner. Relying on the judgment of the High Court in the case of Harrison Continental Pvt. Ltd. v. the State of Bihar (2022), he submitted that in this case the Court drew from several judgments of the Supreme Court to hold that the illegal occupants should not have been allowed to stay in the premises and had to be removed by the police as it was a brazen act of lawlessness. The accused has forcibly invaded the premises of the petitioner and has thrown the petitioner in the said case out of the property.

With regard to the issue of title and possession of the land in question, the Court observed that the parties be left free to seek their remedies before appropriate court. It recorded that the manner in which revised khatiyan has been prepared showing Case No. 39 of 1990 but a bare order sheet of Case No. 43 of 1990 has been produced before this Court without there being any record to support the basis of the initiation of the proceeding, smacks of forgery and fabrication of the records. Involvement of the officials engaged in the work of consolidation, preparation of khatiyan and revised khatiyan are required to be enquired into. It asked, "How two mutation cases were opened and the competent authority in the Circle Office allowed mutation in favour of both the parties are prima-facie some of the questions which are to be resolved after conducting appropriate enquiry/investigation." It was submitted that it is a case of forgery and fabrication of records in the Office of Sub-Registrar, Aamas. It was stated that the sale deed mentions payment of a consideration amount of Rs. 1,26,80,000/- vide different cheques but this also seems to be highly suspicious and requires verification because the PAN number of the so-called persons who are said to have been paid are missing and there is no mention of deduction of one percent income tax at source on the sale consideration.

Justice Rajeev Ranjan Prasad of Patna High Court observed that "It is well settled that in an appropriate case a civil as well as criminal proceeding can go together." He drew the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Rajesh Bajaj Vs. State NCT of Delhi (1999) in this regard. The Senior Superintendent of Police, Gaya has been directed to maintain law and order on the spot/land in question and unless and until an order of adjudication as to right, title and possession or an appropriate order is passed by a court of competent jurisdiction/competent authority in accordance with law neither party shall be allowed to go on the land in question.

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