A DAY after a local court in the city remanded Kanaksinh Jadeja, the husband for former Congress corporator Urvashiba Jadeja, and her relative Mahavirsinh Jadeja to six-day police remand after they were arrested for allegedly grabbing 21 guntha land in Vavdi area of the city, Congress on Wednesday alleged that its worker had been framed in a ‘false’ case of land grabbing to tarnish image of the party ahead of the upcoming local body elections.
Kanaksinh, his father Mahendrasinh and their relative Mahavirsinh Jadeja and five unidentified persons were booked by Rajkot Taluka police on Sunday for rioting, criminal intimidation, mischief causing damage to the tune of Rs 50 as well as under the Gujarat Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Act, 2020.
The police had booked the trio after Rajkot district collector issued an order for police action following a complaint filed by one Renuben Mehta, a resident of Nana Mava Road in the city, on December 23 last year. Kanaksinh and Mahavirsinh were detained Sunday night and were arrested formally after they tested negative for Covid-19 infection. A local court in the city had sent them to police remand for six days on Tuesday.
This was the first case in the city under the new anti-land grabbing act which had come into force last month and is aimed at preventing forcefully dispossessing someone of her land.
In her complaint filed with Taluka police on January 3, Mehta stated that her mother Meenakumari Parekh had purchased 5,261 square metres of agricultural land bearing survey No.38/3 from Natubha Jadeja, adjoining the Gondal Highway in the revenue jurisdiction of Vavdi village in July 1970. Mehta stated that an entry was made in the record of rights of this land as per order of deputy director (land records) of Rajkot in December 2017. However, the accused challenged this entry in the revenue court.
After her mother died on June 16, 2019, Mehta applied for mutation entry in the records of the land on August 5, 2020, but Kanaksinh and others challenged that entry also “and thus disputed the title of the land belonging to us”.
In her complaint, Mehta further stated, “On September 29, 2020, eight to 10 men trespassed into our land after breaking a section of compound wall and started digging holes to install a cabin of steel sheets but they ran away after police reached the spot after Prashantbhai Jain dialed 100 for help. On September 30, 2020, 10 men were standing near a cabin of steel-sheets on our land and when Lalit Parmar and Prashantbhai Jain went there and asked us to leave and threatened us.” She added Jain and Parmar were member of her staff.
Mehta further said thus, Mahendrasinh, Kanaksinh, Mahavirsinh and five to six other unidentified persons grabbed 2,125 square metres out of her 5,261 square metres land and attempted to extort big sum of money by threatening her.
However, at a press conference on Wednesday, Congress leader Indranil Rajyaguru claimed that Kanaksinh’s grandfather Natvarsinh had sold only 31 guntha (101.18 square metres make one guntha) land to Parekh in 1970. He said that later on, a survey by the district inspector of land records (DILR) found the actual size of that plot of land was one acre and 12 guntha (40 gunthas make one acre).
“This KJP (kami-jasti patra, meaning addition or subtraction in a plot of land) was legal right of the Jadeja family by virtue of they being the original owner of the land not the Parekh family. The Jadeja family had filed a civil suit about this and it is pending. But now, the defendant in that suit has become complainant and the original complainant has been arrested by police. This is classic case of chor kotval ko dande (the thief punishes the guard),” said Rajyaguru.
Ashok Dangar, the president of Rajkot city unit of the Congress, alleged this was a ploy to defame the party ahead of election to Rajkot Municipal Corporation. “Our worker is being framed by officers at the behest of the BJP to show the party in poor light ahead of the election. The case is politically motivated and we shall sit on dharna against this on Thursday,” Dangar said.
Rajyaguru added Mahendrasih, son of the orginal owner Natwarsinh, had given a complaint to Rajkot city police commissioner on September 30, 2020, alleging fraud in the said land. “But police did not take any action,” Rajyaguru, a former Congress MLA from Rajkot (east), alleged.
Rajkot city police commissioner Manoj Agarwal told The Indian Express, “While I don’t remember the action taken in respect with that application, they should not have entered the land and threatened the owners. Rather than taking law in their hands, they should have taken the matter to court.”
Asked if the Jadeja family had right to claim the additional land after the KJP, Parimal Pandya, resident additional collector of Rajkot, said, “I can’t discuss technical points as the decision has been taken by the committee. Investigation is ongoing and the court will take a decision. One can’t comment when the matter is sub judice.”
A committee headed by the Rajkot district collector to dispose of applications seeking registration of case under the Gujarat Land Grabbing (Prevention) Act, 2020, had granted Mehta’s plea for seeking police action in her matter. Accordingly, the collector office had issued an order on January 1 directing criminal proceedings in the matter.