Govt to probe forest land scam under Haritha Haram

Govt to probe forest land scam under Haritha Haram

106 acres of reserve forest in Kompally village of Bhupalpally district usurped allegedly by politician

Hyderabad: Following the Supreme Court order restoring forest land and permitting action against erring officials regarding a forest land parcel of over 106 acres on the fringes of Bhupalpally town, the State Government has decided to order a probe into the illegal occupation of the land.

The government senses that a former District Collector and a senior BRS leader were allegedly involved in the illegal occupation of the forest land worth crores of rupees during the BRS regime. The scam is alleged to have taken place under the guise of Haritha Haram which was aimed at increasing the forest cover. The previous government permitted realtors to encroach upon the forest lands. Top official sources said that the total cost of the encroached land was about Rs 380 crore. The objections of the Forest department were set aside.

The land scam come to light when the Supreme Court asked the Chief Secretary to submit a report on the ownership of the forest lands. The court raised doubts on the false report submitted by the district collector in collusion with the local BRS leaders.

Officials said that “a private person approached the court 20 years ago claiming ownership of 106 acres of land in the reserve forest under Kompally village of Bhupalpally district. The old Warangal District Court delivered a judgment in favour of the Forest department in 1994.

Later, the encroacher challenged the court order in the High Court which also upheld the district court judgment. A review petition was filed in the High Court during the BRS regime in 2021. Accordingly, it was ruled that the land belonged to a private person. As the Forest department did not pay attention, the encroacher also filed a contempt of court .The Forest department filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court challenging the High Court verdict on the matter.

In contrast, the district collector filed a rejoinder affidavit in the Supreme Court without the permission of the government. This affidavit has been prepared and submitted in favour of the judgment given by the High Court that the land belongs to a private person.

Objecting to two government departments submitting different affidavits without reconciliation, the Supreme Court sought an explanation from the Chief Secretary. Taking a serious note of it, Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy took special initiative on this matter which came to his notice immediately after assuming charge.

With the intervention of the CM, the affidavit submitted by the District Collector was withdrawn in the Supreme Court. An affidavit was filed by the Chief Secretary on February 8 that the encroached land belongs to the Reserve Forest. The Supreme Court gave its judgment in this case and clarified that this land belongs to the Forest department.

The Supreme Court also directed the state government to take action against the officials who filed affidavits in favour of private individuals. The Supreme Court has also ruled that there is no objection to investigate the role of officials who joined hands with the encroachers and to recover the penalty from them.

Sources said that the government will take action against the collector, forest officials and the BRS leaders who misguided the government and filed the petition in support of the encroachers.

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