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Land-grabbing: 27 booked in Vadodara after panel directive

The FIR was registered following a direction from the seven-member committee formed as part of the provisions of the Act, to examine complaints of land grabbing.

By: Express News Service | Vadodara |
December 1, 2021 12:52:40 am
According to the FIR, the land, which is adjoining the land where the now-demolished Sulemani Chawl stood, belongs to Arif Ghani Vohra, a Surat-based developer.

Panigate police station in Vadodara city Monday booked 27 persons under the Gujarat Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Act, 2020, for allegedly usurping land in their neighbourhood, measuring 4,064 square feet, belonging to a Surat-based developer. The FIR was registered following a direction from the seven-member committee formed as part of the provisions of the Act, to examine complaints of land grabbing.

According to the FIR, the land, which is adjoining the land where the now-demolished Sulemani Chawl stood, belongs to Arif Ghani Vohra, a Surat-based developer.

Vohra, who is the complainant in the FIR, has said that he had handed over the land to Rosy Education Trust for the construction of a school. Based on the agreement between the parties, main trustee Ismail Noora Vohra and secretary Sara Alim Darji, had, in presence of a notary, promised to pay a mutually decided compensation for the land parcel.

“Neither did they pay the compensation decided nor did they return the land parcel. Thus, a civil case is ongoing in the matter with the trust. Since my family and I reside in Surat, we are unable to check on the land frequently. In November 2016, when we visited the land, we saw several people living on the land in makeshift tents and with handcarts parked on the property… since we did not want to create a law and order problem, we left when they cornered us in a group. We complained to the Vadodara police,” Vohra said in the FIR.

Later, Vohra and his son Atiq, visited the land in January 2017 and tried to evict the alleged trespassers but were met with opposition from the accused, who also threatened to harm them, the FIR states.

In December 2020, when the father and son arrived again, they saw a makeshift local market running on the land. “The local residetns told us they were Nasir’s people… We do not know who is Nasir… Following advice from our legal counsel, we approached the District Collector to register a complaint under the anti-land grabbing law,” Vohra has said in the FIR.

According to Vadodara Assistant Commissioner of Police, E Division, SG Patil, the matter is sub-judice with multiple civil suits.

The 27 accused did not appear before the seven-member committee headed by the district collector that directed the police to file a case of land grabbing.

Patil told The Indian Express, “The 26 persons accused in the case are residents of the neighbourhood where the land is located. The 27th accused is a man named Nasir, who could be a link to the controversy. The matter is complicated because the 26 accused have filed six separate civil suits against Vohra… The matter was heard and dismissed ex-parte by the seven-member committee as the 26 accused in the FIR did not appear before the committee… We are now investigating the case as per the directions of the committee but the ultimate power to dispossess the trespassers will lie with the court, which is still hearing the civil suits.”

The Panigate police station booked the accused under IPC sections for criminal trespass (447), criminal intimidation [506(2)], crime in presence of abettor (114), intentionally insulting to provoke and cause a break in public peace (504) as well as the relevant sections of The Gujarat Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Act, 2020.

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