Cuttack:  Taking note of media reports that large tracts of land belonging to the Lord Jagannath Trust are either being encroached upon or sold to influential persons at throwaway prices, Orissa High Court has decided to take up the matter suo motu.

Expressing concern over the developments, Chief Justice A K Goel yesterday appointed senior advocate Jayant Das as amicus curiae to assist the court on the matter.

Reports claimed more than 100 acres of land belonging to the Trust in Jatni area of Khurda district were sold to influential persons at throwaway prices in connivance with unscrupulous government officials.

Even as the HC took up the matter, some lawyers present in the courtroom informed the CJ that they have also filed petitions in this regard. The CJ then asked the interested parties to share their documents with the amicus curiae.

The present Chief administrator of Lord Jagannath Temple Arvind Padhee, while officiating as revenue divisional commissioner (RDC), had initiated steps to evict the encroachments from the Lord’s land.

It was during these evictions that Padhee stumbled upon the illegal land deals involving land mafias, tainted government officials and certain influential persons.

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