By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 24 Jan: There was a time in undivided UP in the nineties when many big properties in Dehradun were occupied by land mafia and the Dehradun administration either watched helplessly or was hand in gloves with the land mafia. However, a recent incident in which a one acre heritage bungalow owned by a late Navy Officer was broken into, valuables stolen, the building demolished as part of an attempt to illegally take possession of the property raises a huge question mark over the functioning of the Dehradun Police.
It may be recalled that Kusum Kapoor, wife of a deceased Navy Officer VK Kapoor, who had been awarded a gallantry award, too, had left her property on 7 January for a few days to visit her daughter in Noida. On 12 January, the land mafia entered the property, brought 3 JCB machines and began to demolish the house. The entire day these machines kept operating while the Clement Town Police ‘slept’. All the valuables were stolen and the land mafia tried to take possession of the property. When the lady returned to Dehradun, she was aghast to see the development. She initially approached the local Clement Town Police but her complaint was not even registered. She then also approached the SSP Office and still failed to get a positive response. Finally, she gathered courage to approach the Director General of Police who, taking serious note of the development, immediately suspended the Clement Town Police Station In charge Narendra Gehlot and ordered a special inquiry to be conducted not by Dehradun Police but by SP-Crime of Haridwar, Vishakha Ashok Bhadani.
The incident itself raises a major question mark over the functioning of the Dehradun Police, which is evident from the fact that not only the building was allowed to be erased right under its nose but even the case was not registered. That the victim had to approach the highest Police authority in order to get justice speaks volumes about the kind of callousness and possible involvement of the Police officials behind the land mafia’s attempt to encroach on the property. In fact, there are claims that a large sum of money had exchanged hands. It is for the inquiring officials to find out how far that is true but, without a doubt, there are questions that need to be answered by the local Police.
There have been cases of forcible encroachment through fake documents in the state on a regular basis, however, such a blatant case of robbery and encroachment has not been heard of in the recent past in Uttarakhand.
Sources in the police claim that the FIR has been registered and now the investigative team is looking for the alleged land mafia, Amit Yadav and his accomplice Monica Randhawa, who had been caretaker of this property when the Kapoors lived elsewhere in the country. It may be recalled that VK Kapoor had died last year. He was around 70 years of age. The couple had three daughters, two of whom are married. One married daughter lives in Nashik, the other married daughter lives in US. The third daughter is a specially abled person and lives in Noida. According to Mrs Kapoor, Monica Randhawa along with Amit Yadav, a known controversial property dealer, had been probably eyeing this property for some time, particularly after VK Kapoor passed away. The Nashik resident daughter of VK Kapoor has also filed a complaint with the Election Commission in this regard.