Indore (Madhya Pradesh): The officers of Enforcement Directorate (ED) launched search at four locations of Dhar over Rs 282 crore Saint Teresa land scam, on Thursday morning. ED officials reached at Teresa Compound and Mission Compound and two other locations of the district to investigate the money laundering allegations. Involvement of government officials and land mafias, besides officials of Churches, is being suspected in the alleged land scam.
ED was keeping a close watch over the whole scam
Following a 16,500-page challan by Dhar Police in October 23, 2022, ED was keeping a close watch over the scam spanning over 3 hectares of land in Dhar. According to information ED officials reached at Teresa Compound and Mission Compound and two other locations in proper Dhar city on Thursday morning. About 45 officers and staff from ED are carrying out the search operation with the help of about 50 police personnel.
It may be point able that Dhar Police had prepared the challan in October 23, 2022 in the St Teresa land scam against 31 persons for being part of a crime that involved collusion with judicial and revenue officials, to grab 3.074 hectare of prime government land in Dhar city, known as Mission Compound, worth over Rs. 282 crore market value.
Retd SDM, Dhar Nagar Parishad Officials Arrested
SP Aditya Pratap Singh had informed that, of 32 people charged for the crime, all except Dhar-based businessman and main accused Sudhir Jain and his wife Ayushi and Ankit, were arrested. Those arrested include a retired SDM and several Dhar Nagar Parishad officials. The properties owned by Sudhir Jain and five other properties have been confiscated by the district administration.
The SP had said that the challan brings to conclusion an eight-month-long pain-staking investigation by Dhar police that busted an elaborate conspiracy, cheating, forgery, fabrication and manipulation of records by the accused. Two SITs had been formed under ASP Devendra Patidar and DSP Yashaswi Shinde, who was the lead investigator.
Dr Margaret left India for Canada in 1927
As per the government records, the said 3.074 hectare land was given to Dr Ms 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. Subsequently, on a small part of the land a houses and Mission Hospital was constructed, which was inaugurated in 1897. Dr Margaret left India for Canada in 1927 and died in 1940. The land was never transferred in her name and the government (after independence) remained the owner and Dr O’Hara was mentioned as caretaker of the land in revenue records.
In 1972, Dr Ratnakar Peter Das, a tribal from Chhattisgarh, took over as superintendent of the Mission Hospital and in 1985 revenue records were manipulated and Dr. Ratnakar Peter Das’s name came up as caretaker. However, he himself reaffirmed that he was only the caretaker and not the owner when in 1980 the United Church of Northern India claimed that the land belonged to them. A ruling by 4th ADJ, Dhar was issued on December 20, 2004 in the same case reaffirming that Dr Das and his family did not hold title over the land.
Despite of that, after Dr Das’s death, his wife Dr Ila Das executed a lease deed of 0.451 hectares of the land in the favour of Sudhir Jain’s. In 2009, a power of attorney was made in the name of Akilesh Sharma (another accused) and he sold the land to 14 persons (36 plots) for mere Rs 20 lakhs at the rate of Rs 53 per square foot when the market price ran into thousands. Later, Sudhir Das (Dr Das’s son) illegally executed 14 sale deeds and sold over 1.6 lakh square feet of land to various people.