Tuesday 16 Aug 2022

Land grab: Collectors asked to freeze ‘deals’ in 90 cases

THE GOAN NETWORK | JUNE 28, 2022, 12:36 AM IST

PANAJI

The two district collectors have been directed to freeze all transactions, whether conversion, mutation or sale, in relation to some 90-odd properties in Goa which have come under the scanner of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) for fraudulent deals in the past, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said on Monday.

Sawant said, the list of these properties with details including the survey number will be published so that the public and those with legal interest in these properties are aware.

The Chief Minister was speaking to the media after chairing a high-level meeting to review the ongoing investigations into multiple frauds related to land deals being conducted by the SIT.

Besides Sawant, the meeting was attended by Revenue Minister Atanasio (Babush) Monserrate, Chief Secretary Puneet Kumar Goel, Director General of Police (DGP) Jaspal Singh, Revenue Secretary Sandeep Jacques, the two district Collectors and SIT head Superintendent of Police (Crime) Nidhin Valsan, IPS.

Goa govt may come up with amendment to the Act to take over no man’s property in the State. The properties wherein the owner is dead or there are no legal heir will be taken over by the government because these are the properties most susceptible to frauds, said Sawant. 

Thus far, the SIT has collated information related to 92 properties which were fraudulently transferred.

"I can say that one gang operating to execute such land frauds has been apprehended," Sawant said, adding that another such meeting where ministers holding charge of departments involved besides other top officials will be held in the coming days.

Sawant also said, that the government will cancel all transactions done with these properties and no further transactions will be allowed. 

"Those who are buyers of these properties can approach the respective collectors with their claims," Sawant said.

Responding to a query on possible involvement of politicians in the racket, Sawant said, so far the complicity of only lower level government staff has come to light.

Sawant had constituted the SIT two weeks ago after several cases of land sale/transfer using forged documents and fraudulent means had come to light over several years.

Besides Valsan who heads it and other police officers drawn from the Crime Branch, the SIT also has officials from the departments of revenue, archives and the State Registrar.

The SIT had so far arrested four people including two government officials from the Archives department -- Dhiresh Naik and Shivanand Madkaikar.

Of the other two accused arrested -- Vikrant Shetty and Mohammed Safi -- the former has already obtained bail.


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