Congress candidate for Charakhadi seat of Rajkot district panchayat, Dinesh Patar, and three others have been booked in a land-grabbing case after they allegedly took possession of 10 bighas of agricultural land illegally and tried to extort money from the owners to vacate the land, police said on Monday.
Police said the case was registered on the order of a committee headed by Rajkot district magistrate on February 13, following a complaint by Vikram Dangar, a farmer from Vejagam village of Rajkot taluka, filed on February 2.
The magistrate had ordered an inquiry by Rajkot rural police and the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) of Gondal. Both Gondal city police and the SDM submitted their inquiry reports to the magistrate on February 12, recommending criminal proceedings against Patar, Naresh Bhasha, Kaushik Korat and his brother Haresh Korat.
Patar and three others have been booked under the Gujarat Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Act, 2020 and IPC Sections 406 (breach of trust), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 447 (trespass), 384 (extortion), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy).
“After registering the FIR at Gondal police station, we arrested Kaushik Korat and Haresh Korat, residents of Pardi village of Lodhika taluka of Rajkot district, on Sunday evening. We produced them in a court in Gondal on Monday and secured their custody for three days. Patar and Bhasha are on the run,” Pratipalsinh Jhala, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) of Gondal division of Rajkot-Rural police, told The Indian Express on Monday.
Patar, a Gondal-based advocate, is contesting Rajkot district panchayat election from Charakhadi seat. Hitesh Vora, president of Rajkot district unit of the party, said that Patar was chosen as candidate much before the land-grabbing case.
“The case was registered only yesterday. His candidature was decided much before that. Police are alleging that he is facing a case of rape also but that is a false claim,” Vora said.
The nominations of Patar and other 35 Congress candidates were confirmed by election officials on Monday.
According to the FIR, Dangar and his friend Raghuvirsinh Jadeja purchased 10 bigha agricultural land in Gondal in 2019 from the Korat
brothers for Rs 46.45 lakh. However, when he went to his land in August, 2020, Bhasha was there.
According to the FIR, Bhasha told Dangar that the Korats had signed an agreement to sell the land in 2018. When Dangar demanded documents, Bhasha called Patar who turned up with an agreement on the stamp paper of face value Rs100.
“Patar told me that he had purchased that land for Rs 23 lakh. He asked us to leave and threatened us to frame us in false cases,” the FIR quotes Dangar as having stated.
When Dangar raised the matter with Korats and asked why he had not informed them about the agreement while selling the land to him, the Korats allegedly told them that they had borrowed Rs 23 lakh from Patar and Bhasha and that they must pay the amount if they wanted the land to be cleared.
“The Korats purchased the land in 2017 and leased it to Bhasha for tilling against a payment of Rs 30,000 annually. However, after selling that land to Dangar and Jadeja, the Korats made a plan to extort money from the buyers in collusion with Patar and Bhasha… However, that sale agreement doesn’t seem genuine,” Jhala said and added that Patar and Bhasha belong to the same community.