Odisha court convicts Retired Army Officer for duping land buyers of more than Rs 31 cr

Bhubaneswar: A court in Odisha has convicted two persons including a retired Lieutenant Colonel in a case of fraud amounting to more than Rs 31 crore. Following a trial in the Court of Presiding Officer, Designated Court under the OPID (Odisha Protection of Interest of Depositors) Act, Cuttack, Lt. Col. (retd.) Rakesh Rana and Brookson Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd’s Managing Director Purna Chandra Panda were sentenced of rigorous imprisonment for five years and a fine of Rs 1 lakhs each on August 27, 2021. In case of default, they will undergo rigorous imprisonment for one year.

Also, the court convicted the SWO-India and M/s Brookson Infra Pvt. Ltd. and sentenced them with fine of Rs two lakhs each.

Deputy SP Srinibas Padhy of the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Crime Branch was investigating the fraud case.

Based on a written complaint filed by one Patitapabana Biswal, the EOW PS Case No. 19 of 2015 was registered against Lt. Col. Rakesh Rana (retired), Chairman of Sainik Welfare Organisation – India and Purna Chandra Panda, Managing Director of Brookson Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. and others.

The complainant alleged Rana and Panda cheated him and others by not providing plots and defaulted in refunding the deposited amount.

Biswal further stated he and other gave the money to book plots in the “Defence Intercity Vatika Project” in Bhubaneswar during the year 2011-12 to 2014-15.

In a statement the EOW mentioned that during the course of investigation it was found out the “Sainik Welfare Organisation India” (SWO-India), a New Delhi-based NGO, having its trustee namely, accused Lt. Col. Rakesh Rana (Chairman) and three others during 2010, launched a plotting scheme in the name and style, “Defence Intercity Vatika Association” at Giringaput Mouza, Bhubaneswar for providing residential plots to the serving or retired defence personnel.

Subsequently the SWO-India collected about Rs 31.57 crores from 542 numbers of defence personnel towards cost of land, development charges and registration fees etc.

The SWO-India represented though Rana entered into an agreement with accused, Panda during August, 2011 to purchase land for the above project. However, the two accused along with others hatched a criminal conspiracy and did not purchase adequate land to provide the same to the intending buyers.

They did not provide any land to the investors and misappropriated the entire amount.

During investigation an ad-interim proposal was submitted by EOW to attach the frozen bank balance of approximately Rs 55.2 lakhs and land measuring 3.20 decimal acres having face value of more than Rs 71 lakhs of SWO India and M/s Brookson Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. Later the government issued an ad-interim order for attachment on December 7, 2017.

After completion of investigation of the case, a charge-sheet was submitted in the case vide EOW PS C.S. No. 18 dt. 25.05.2018 U/s 420/406/467/468/471/120-B IPC, R/W Sec. 06 of OPID (in FE) Act, 2011 against accused – (1) Rakesh Rana, Chairman of SWO-India, (2) Purna Chandra Panda, MD of M/s Brookson Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. (3) Pradipta Kumar Barik, Project Liasoning Officer of Defence Intercity Vatika Association for SWO (4) Dharambir Singh, another Trustee of SWO, India (5) SWO-India represented by its Chairman Rakesh Rana and (6) M/s Brookson Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. represented through its MD, Purna Chandra Panda.

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