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Retired army lieutenant colonel, associate convicted for land fraud in Odisha

The EOW had later taken up the investigation after Patitapabana Biswal, one of the 542 investors, had lodged a complaint. Rs 55.20 lakh bank balance besides 3.20 decimal of land owned by the bogus companies was later attached.

SNS | Bhubaneswar |

The Odisha Protection of Interest of Depositors (OPID) court in Cuttack has sentenced a retired lieutenant colonel of the army and his associate to five years of rigorous imprisonment on the charge of deceiving 500 serving and retired defence personnel to the tune of Rs 31 crore on the pretext of providing residential plots in Bhubaneswar city about a decade back.

The OPID court adjudicating the charge-sheet filed by the Economic Offence Wing (EOW) of the crime branch convicted Lt. Col. (retd.) Rakesh Rana and Purna Chandra Panda and sentenced them to 5 years RI and imposed an Rs one lakh fine. The court ordered to undergo one year additional RI in default of the fine.

The “Sainik Welfare Organisation India” (SWO-India), a New Delhi based NGO, having Rana as one of its trustee three others had launched “Defence Intercity Vatika Association” plotting scheme at Giringaput Mouza, Bhubaneswar for providing residential plots to the serving/ retired defence personnel.

A sum of Rs. 31.57 crores were later collected from 542 defence personnel towards the cost of land, development charges and registration fees.

The SWO India represented through its Chairman, Rakesh Rana had entered into an agreement with accused Purna Chandra Panda, Managing Director of M/s Brookson Infrastructure Private Limited in August 2011 to purchase land for the above project.

However, the above-accused persons in a criminal conspiracy hatched between themselves & others did not purchase adequate land to provide the same to the intending buyers as assured to them and for which they had collected the money. They did not provide any land to the investors and misappropriated the entire amount.

The EOW had later taken up the investigation after Patitapabana Biswal, one of the 542 investors, had lodged a complaint. Rs 55.20 lakh bank balance besides 3.20 decimal of land owned by the bogus companies was later attached.