Sudhanva Shetty Shetty
Writer, coffee-addict, likes folk music & long walks in the rain. Firmly believes that there's nothing more important in a democracy than a well-informed electorate.
According to an investigation by The Indian Express, the wife of a minister in the Chhatisgarh government bought 4.12 hectares of state forest land amidst allegations of conflict of interest and impropriety. Minister Brijmohan Agarwal’s wife Sarita Agarwal and their son are reportedly building a resort over the land. The purchase took place in September 2009.
When questioned over this, the Ministry headed by Agarwal put it in the writing that “it’s not possible to take any action in the matter”.
Brijmohan Agarwal has been the MLA from Raipur South since 1990. He is currently serving as the Minister for Agriculture, Water Resources and Religious Trusts and Endowments.
His wife purchased forest land in September 2009 when he was Minister for School Education, Public Works Department, Parliamentary Affairs, Tourism and Culture. The land was donated by Vishnu Ram Shahu and five other farmers from Jhalki Village on March 2, 1994 as “daanpatra”, a system where private individuals give their lands to the government for public good as “daan”.
The issue came to light when a whistleblower sent a complaint in 2016 stating, “Respected Modiji, look at the irony, some influential people have now usurped government land in their name, This has been done in a complete violation of all norms and government directions, because as you know, there is a set procedure for distribution of government land and without the state Cabinet’s approval this cannot be distributed.”
The PMO forwarded the letter to the Chhattisgarh Chief Secretary. Every single government agency has accepted that the land was government-owned but everyone has been passing the buck. No action has been taken against the illegal activity even though it has been eight years since the purchase of the forest land.
The entire report can be read here: Chhattisgarh minister’s wife buys state forest land to build a resort, his dept says we can do nothing
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