The Supreme Court on Monday ordered a CBI inquiry into the alleged land grab at Barabati Stadium by Odisha Olympic Association (OOA). The apex court also barred OOA general secretary Ashirbad Behera from contesting OOA elections.
A division bench comprising Justices Dipak Mishra and P C Pant ordered the probe on the basis of the Accountant General’s report recommending a CBI inquiry into the income-expenditure account of Barabati Palace (a marriage hall) and allotment of 23 shops that were built by OOA.
In the audit, the Accountant General found that OOA started construction of the 23 shops on disputed land in 1990-91 with its own resources, completed the construction in 1995-96 at a cost of Rs 14.21 lakh and let out the same in March 1996. It also permitted construction of ‘Kalyan Mandap’ (the hall) by Incon Associates on the disputed land in 1996-97.
Behera, a former secretary of Odisha Cricket Association, has been accused of encroaching on premium government land for furthering his own interests.
OOA, the apex sports body for football, hockey, table tennis, basketball and district athletic associations, got 20 acres of government land on lease for construction of Barabati Stadium in 1949. In the mid-1970s, it allegedly encroached upon 2 acres of adjacent vacant government land. In 1986 the OOA sub-leased the encroached land and developed business establishment.
In November 2014, a single-judge bench of the High Court had ordered the Cuttack district collector to take possession of properties on the encroached land.