The land sharks of Sidhi–Singrauli take Railways for a ride

D.P. Shukla, a farmer turned whistle-blower from Singrauli district, and his 88-year-old father, have been slapped with three FIRs for raising the issue. Shukla turned whistle-blower after district officials allegedly awarded Rs 1.5 crore to five non-existent ‘co-owners’ of his one acre plot in Khobha and Cheeva villages. Stamp papers had been manipulated to create the fake ownership claims, he found. An inquiry on his complaint led to the cancellation of the licence of a stamp vendor in June 2023.

There have been other equally outrageous developments. A public works department (PWD) daily wager Rammanohar Dwivedi (55) was awarded a compensation of Rs 2.88 crore for his one acre plot and three houses. A year later, he was found dead. The police declared it suicide. However, his lone surviving son, Rudranarayan, believes his father was killed by people who wanted to appropriate the compensation.

Four months after Dwivedi’s death, the district administration released Rs 2.48 crore to three relatives (including a son) of PWD sub-engineer Dadhich Singh, under whom Dwivedi had worked. Rudranarayan, who moved the high court in July 2022, was paid Rs 40 lakh. The state government is yet to reply to the court notice. Interestingly, in May 2022, Dadhich Singh was posted on deputation to work as a clerk with BJP MP Ajay Pratap Singh.

Another plot of land belonging to the sitting BJP MP from Sidhi, Riti Pathak, in Amo village was initially left out of the list of plots to be acquired because of a ‘typing error’.

When the 0.44 acre plot was notified for acquisition in 2020, it had only one owner—the MP’s uncle. But a notification in December 2022 showed eight co-owners of the plot. They turned out to be uncles, aunts, sisters, cousins and nephews of the MP, said Shukla, the whistle-blower.

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