Sambalpur Development Authority Staffer Among 5 Held For Building Plan Fraud

Sambalpur: Five persons, including an employee of Sambalpur Development Authority (SDA), have been arrested for allegedly cheating many applicants on the pretext of building plan approval.

The main accused has been identified as Laxmi Narayan Samal (32), a dealing assistant at the SDA. The other arrested are Ajaya Behera (47) of Ainthapali, Bikash Jagat (36) of Badmal, Dambrudhara Tripathy (40) of Kuluthkani and Sudhansu Kishor Pati (59) of Jharuapada. Three cars, 22 files, two diaries, a notebook, bank statements, 22 stamps, five mobile phones, a computer and one laptop have been seized from their possession.

Police have also detected over Rs 3.31 crore in the accused’s bank accounts.

According to sources, the fraud came to the fore when Harikesh Bahadur Singh of Gopalpali and Sabita Bagar of Ainthapali applied for a housing loan in Bareipali branch of State Bank of India, using the building plan approval issued by the main accused. During verification, the approvals were found to be forged. The matter was then reported to the SDA and city planner of SDA, whose forged signature and seal were used in the approvals, filed a complaint in this connection.

Sambalpur SP Mukesh Kumar Bhamoo told the media that the accused lured people by assuring them to get their building plans approved at a lower rate in exchange for money. “Bikash took Rs 1,03,600 from Singh to get the approval without any hassles. An approval letter was issued to him on July 27 but it turned out to be fake. It is a case of organised crime. The act also amounted to a loss for the state exchequer,” he said.

Preliminary investigations revealed that 54 persons had been duped by the accused, who had been issuing forged building plan approvals since 2021 and demanding around Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh for the same.

A case under Sections 420, 468 and 471 of the IPC and further investigation is underway to ascertain the involvement of other persons in the fraud, the SP added.

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