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Delhi: CBI registers preliminary enquiry in Karol Bagh Hanuman statue land issue

The agency has initiated a preliminary enquiry to ascertain prima facie evidence of alleged criminality and involvement of civic body officials in permitting the structures.

Reported by: PTI, New Delhi [ Published on: February 11, 2018 12:41 IST ]
108-feet-tall Hanuman temple

The CBI has begun its probe into alleged encroachment of land in the construction of the famous 108-feet-tall Hanuman temple and a car dealership agency in Karol Bagh area here, agency officials said today.

The agency has initiated a preliminary enquiry to ascertain prima facie evidence of alleged criminality and involvement of civic body officials in permitting the structures, they said. 

The action of the agency comes on the directions of the Delhi High Court which had instructed it to probe how the 108-feet-tall Hanuman statue, which has become a signature landmark of the national capital in movies, and the two-wheeler dealership encroached upon public land in the busy Karol Bagh area and the officials who allowed it to happen by "abusing their position". 

A bench of acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar had observed that the authorities were required to prevent such activities but it was a case of "abuse of power" by them and it was "completely reprehensible". 

After registering the preliminary enquiry, the agency has collected records from Delhi Police, the officials said. A preliminary enquiry is first step to investigate an alleged crime. 

During a PE, the CBI collects material to determine if there is a prima facie criminality, as alleged in the complaint. If it finds enough material, it converts it into a regular case also known as an FIR else it is closed.

The court had directed the CBI to probe whether there was any "quid pro quo for permitting illegal construction". It had ordered a police probe after a committee appointed by it in May to look into illegal constructions all over Delhi had pointed to encroachments of up to 1,170 sq yards on DDA land which forms part of the Southern Ridge. 

The committee had also said that apart from the Hanuman statue, there was unauthorised construction of multiple small and big buildings of up to four floors including a residential complex there.

The bench had then directed the authorities to take action against the unauthorised construction on public land and ensure that all encroachments on the Southern Ridge are removed immediately and the Ridge is secured in terms of the orders of the Supreme Court. 

"Time has come to fix responsibility. Violating the Supreme Court's direction and statutory provisions cannot be countenanced. None of the authorities have taken a single step to protect the land or prevent encroachment. There is total non-compliance of statutory provisions by the authorities," it had said. 

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