Ode land ‘grabbing’: Crucial FSL report missing from court records

A crucial set of forensic reports relating to a case of land dispute at Ode village in Anand district are missing from the records of a local court. The complainant in the case is a 2002 riot victim who has accused two fellow villagers of fraudulently grabbing her 2.5 bigha land by forging documents.

Following the discovery recently, the magisterial court ordered the concerned Investigation Officer to remain present before it on August 9 to make a statement in that regard.

A complaint in the case was filed by one Salma Malek from Ode village who had shifted to nearby Bhalej village after the riots. Five persons of Salma's family were killed by a mob at Pirawali Bhagol in Ode during the riots.

According to Salma's complaint, two brothers — Dinu Patel and Vinu Patel — had with the help of two others created a fake document to show that their land was mortgaged for Rs 70,000 by her mother Jetunbibi and brother Sikandar in 1998. Both Jetunbibi and Sikandar are among those killed in the Pirawali Bhagol massacre.

In her complaint, Salma alleged that due to good relations with the Patels before the riots, they had given them their land for tilling with an understanding that they would be sharing the income. However, after the riots, she shifted to Bhalej village. And when she went back to the farm along with her borther-in-law after the riots, one of the brothers allegedly told them to leave while threatening of dire consequences if they entered the field again.

According to the complaint, the Patels have created a fake back-dated document showing that Jetunbibi and Sikandar had mortgaged the land to them. Salma alleged that the thumb impression and signature of Jetunbibi and Sikandar respectively were forged in the document.

The Khambholaj police had registered a case of criminal breach of trust, forgery and criminal intimidation against four persons, including the Patel bothers, under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code.

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