Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh):
Our Special Correspondent Indore
Enforcement Directorate (ED) launched search action at four locations of Dhar city in connection with 3.074 hectare land scam of Saint Teresa compound on Thursday.
The land’s current market value is around Rs 282 crore. Apart from a few people of a church, a few government officials and land mafias are allegedly involved in the scam. Ever since, Dhar police submitted 16,500 page charge sheet in court on October 23, 2022, the ED had been closely monitoring the scam. ED teams, comprising 45 officials, reached Teresa Compound, Mission Compound and two other locations in Dhar city along with 50 police personnel.
It is believed that a huge amount of money laundered in the scam. Dhar police had busted the scam in February 2022.
Two SITs were also constituted. A charge sheet was against 31 people in St Teresa land scam. Mission compound spread on 3. 074 hectare is located at prime location. The charges were framed against 31 people, including Dhar-based businessman and main accused Sudhir Jain, his wife Ayushi, a retired SDM and some Dhar Nagar Parishad officials. The properties owned by Sudhir Jain and five others were confiscated.
Caretaker’s son sold land as owner
As per government records, the said 3.074 hectare land was given to Dr Margaret O’Hara, a missionary from Canada, by the then Ruler of Dhar Anand Rao Pawar-III to set up a hospital for women and her residential bungalow in 1895. A house and Mission hospital was constructed on a small portion of the land and inaugurated in 1897. Dr Margaret left for Canada in 1927 and died in 1940. The land was never transferred in her name. Even after Independence, government remained the owner of the land. Dr. O’Hara was mentioned as caretaker in revenue records.
In 1972, Dr. Ratnakar Peter Das, a tribal from Chhattisgarh, took over the charge as superintendent of Mission Hospital Dhar. Dr Das got revenue records manipulated in 1985 to get his name registered as caretaker. Despite Dr Das’s claim that he was only the caretaker and not the owner, the United Church of Northern India in 1990 staked claim over the land.
On December 20, 2004, ADJ-IV of Dhar District Court ruled that Dr Das and his family did not hold ownership title of the land. Contrary to court order, after Dr Das’s death, his wife Dr Ila Das executed a lease deed of 0.451 hectare in favour of Sudhir Jain. In 2009, a power of attorney was made in the name of another accused Akilesh Sharma, who later sold 36 plots on the land to people for merely Rs 20 lakh.
Later late Dr Das’s son Sudhir Das illegally executed 14 sale deeds and sold over 1.6 lakh square feet of land to different people.