Bhubaneswar: Opposition Congress on Friday accused Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of shielding BJD leaders who allegedly grabbed above 100 acre of forest land on the outskirt of the state capital even as the Odisha government ordered a joint probe into the alleged land scam.
"Chief Minister is aware about the persons who actually grabbed the forest land illegally. He has been protecting them even after getting a complaint in this regard," Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra of Congress told reporters.
Mishra`s statement came in the wake of media reports and allegation by the opposition BJP leader Bijay Mohapatra who charged that a Rajya Sabha MP oof BJD and a minister grabbed the forest land besides constructing wide roads in the village forest land.
"Construction of road in forest land is illegal," Mohapatra said.
As the opposition parties blamed the CM, Odisha government today ordered a joint probe by the Revenue and Forest department into the matter.
"The officials of Forest department and Revenue department will jointly verify whether the road is constructed in forest land, who is the owner of the land in question at Ghangapatna village," Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Bijayshree Routray said.
Routray said: "Strong action will be taken against the law violators basing on the report of the joint probe."
With opposition targeting the CM, Dharmasala MLA Pranab Balabantray, who is the son of Rajya Sabha MP Kalpataru Das, denied that there was any land in his name at Ghangapatna village though a piece of land was purchased in name of Gokarneswar Charitable Trust headed by him.
However, the land was sold out in 2012, Balabantray said.
The BJD MP`s son, also claimed that the land in name of Charitable Trust did not belong to forest category.