Crucial documents, dating back to 1955, in connection with the Sonebhadra killings are nowhere to be found in the district revenue office, according to reports.
District Magistrate Ankit Agarwal has confirmed that the papers were "untraceable".
The three-member committee set up by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to probe the killings has, hence, hit a major roadblock.
It is noteworthy that it was on the basis of the 1955 papers that Yogi Adityanath had squarely blamed the Congress party for the land dispute that led to the massacre.
The committee was set up by the chief minister to probe into the circumstances that led to the transfer of the gram sabha land resulting in the Sonebhadra killings.
The panel led by Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue) had a specific brief to investigate how gram sabha land in the three villages of Ubha, Sapai and Murtiya in the Sonebhadra district was transferred to a society and then taken over by the village head.
Advocate Nityanand Dwivedi, who is fighting a legal battle for Gond tribals of the three villages in the lower court, said that after abolition of the zamindari system, 600 bigha of land that belonged to the Raja of Badhaar, Anand Bhrama Saha, was marked barren (infertile) in revenue records and transferred as gram sabha land to be tilled by Gond tribals.
In 1952, IAS officer Prabhat Kumar Misra was posted in Mirzapur. He formed a society, Adarsh Cooperative Society Ltd, and appointed his father-in-law, Maheshwari Prasad Sinha of Muzaffarpur in Bihar, as its president and his daughter and wife Asha Misra office-bearers.
On December 17, 1955, at least 463 bigha was transferred in the name of the society. These papers are missing.
Till Sinha's death, land was registered in his name. On September 6, 1989, 200 bigha was transferred to Sinha's daughter, Asha Misra, and grand-daughter Vinita, who sold off 144 bigha for Rs 2 crore to Yagya Dutt Gujjar, the village head.
"We have all relevant papers, barring the 1955 file," Sonebhadra District Magistrate Ankit Agarwal said. He also said the file was not submitted in revenue records of Sonebhadra, which was carved out of Mirzapur in 1989.
(with inputs from IANS)