Three arrested, 16 including a ward chief at large
BIRGUNJ, April 7: In another shocking case of land grab, large chunks of land approximately worth Rs 100 million belonging to a Guthi Sansthan of Piparamath in Birgunj have been sold based on forged documents. Police have arrested three persons in connection with the case while 16 other the accused including the ward chief of Birgunj-14, Bharat Prasad Kurmi, are still at large.
On October 18, 2018, Land Revenue Office, Parsa, transferred 1 bigha and 1 kattha land (plot no 52) in Pipara-5 in the name of Sushila Bhattarai and Rakesh Sah. On the same date, 1 bigha, 7 kattha land (plot no 150) and 4 kattha and 4 dhur land (plot no 250) in Lalparsa-8 were passed to Ganga Prasad Sedhain.
It has been learnt that Indrakala Devi of Muzaffarpur, Bihar in India had obtained the death certificate of Ram Chandra Shahi also known as Raghavdas, the last main priest (Mahantha) of Shree Nrisingh Temple, Piparamath, claiming to be his wife. As mentioned in the death certificate, Shahi died on March 8, 2008.
The Guthi's land is being illegally sold apparently by using the certificate as a proof. On September 28, 2018, following an application submitted by Indrakala, the ward-13 office of Birgunj issued a recommendation stating that Indrakala has the right to sell the land in the name of her deceased husband as she has no one to hand over the land.
The recommendation has been signed by ward Chief Bharat Prasad Kurmi. Ward member Rafik Ansari has been mentioned as the witness and the letter has the signature of ward secretary of Bigunj-17 Jhuna Mahara. Police recently arrested secretary Mahara, ward member Ansari and one Harish Chandra Pokharel while others are still at large.
Police Inspector Rewati Dhakal of Parsa Police informed Republica that cases of organized crime, forgery among others have been filed against the 19 suspects. He further informed that police have expedited search for those in the run.
How the case came to light
Sushila Bhattarai later came to know that the land she purchased belonged to a Guthi rather than a person when she started using it. After a long search, her relatives caught the broker Harish Chandra Pokharel in Bharatpur of Chitwan. Claiming that he was unaware about the ownership of the land, Pokharel assured to provide another land worth the same price.
In order to escape from Bhattarai's family members, Pokharel later called police saying he has been abducted and is being kept in a hotel room. However, his plan backfired as police traced his hideout and unfolded the truth.
Police started thorough investigation on the case following the complaint filed by Bhattarai. According to Ram Narayan Kurmi, member of Shree Nrisingh Temple, Piparamath Management and Conservation Committee, the land sold is worth more than Rs 100 million.
Meanwhile, Devnath Upadhyaya, chairperson of the committee, stated that he sensed that land mafia were eying the land of Piparamath. He claimed that it is not the first time someone has made efforts to grab the land of Piparamath.
Chief District Officer (CDO) of Parsa, Narayan Bhattarai, assured that he will deploy his officials to find out the details of the controversial land and will make sure that such forgery is not repeated in future.