Builder arrested for encroaching forest land

The forest department in Pune on Friday night arrested a builder, Bharat Narayan Vora, 40, of Siddharth Creations for allegedly encroaching on a 2,200 sq m of forest-notified land in Wanowrie by preparing bogus documents. Forest officer V B Bhadale produced Vora in a magistrate court on Saturday seeking seven-day forest-police custody.

Forest officials were surveying their land in Mauje Wanowrie for last two-three months. "We realised that the forest-notified land had reduced considerably. We tried to tally the old and new maps with the help of toposheets. We came across an encroachment of 2,200 sq metres where a residential building has been constructed," said advocate Abhijit Sakurkar, special public prosecutor, forests.

The remand application to the court states Vora erased the forest-notification marks, dug the land, moved the forest soil elsewhere and used the land for construction of a residential building without seeking permission. "This was allegedly done with the help of some officers and workers of the Pune Municipal Corporation," the application states.

The forest department listed eight reasons seeking Vora's custody. They want to investigate how the bogus documents were prepared and seize the forest soil that was allegedly moved by Vora. Officials also want to take Vora at the site for inspection and seize the original documents.

Vora has been charged under Section 441 (criminal trespass) and 447 (punishment for criminal trespass of up to three months) of the Indian Forest Act, 1927, and Section 34 (acts done by several persons with common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

The court remanded Vora in police custody till Monday, September 24.

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