The conflict over the illegal land acquisition of government land by the wife and son of BJP Minister Brijmohan Agarwal in Mahasamund District, Chhattisgarh began in 2009 and came to the fore only in March 2015. Even though the alleged land acquisition by Sarita Agarwal the wife of Chhattisgarh BJP Minister Brijmohan Agarwal (currently minister of Water Resources Department, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Fisheries, Ayacut, and Endowment) is recorded in September 2009, no complaints were filed till 2015, when Lalit Chandranahu of the Kisaan Mazdoor Sangh Mahasamund filed a complaint.
In 1994 the previous owner of the land, Vishnu Ram Sahu along with five other farmers had handed it over as 'daan' to the Water Resources Department, supposedly under Madhya Pradesh bhurajasva (land revenue) Act, 1959. Officials representing WRD had told him that a government project was to come up in the area and in return for his land, he and his family would receive jobs. After this point, both the records and the ownership of the piece of land in question were mired in ambiguity and controversy.
No project came up in subsequent years and no jobs were given. In 2009, Sahu claims that some dalals (middlemen) came and told him that the land records hadnt changed and that they would buy the land from him. According to a government probe after the 2015 complaint, it was revealed that the 4.12 hectares land was moved from the possession of WRD to the Forest Department for an afforestation project, which never happened despite having spent Rs. 22.90 Lakh on record in 2003.
It was subsequently bought by Sarita Agarwal in 2009. According to Indian Express, various governmental bodies including the Forest and Water Resources Department concluded that the land belongs to the government, but due to a laxity of records, remained with Vishnu Sahu who sold it to Sarita Agarwal.
Apart from these 4.12 hectares, 13.90 hectares of government land were encroached upon by Brijmohan Agarwals family. According to Indian Express, Mahasamund District Revenue Officials redflagged these 13.90 hectares and issued a showcause notice to Aditya Srijan Pvt Ltd, the company which acquired the land and has Sarita Agrawal and Abhishek Agrawal, the wife and the son of Brijmohan Agrawal, as its directors.
The case assumed even bigger proportions when new records from the tehsildar documented 49 instances of acquisition of government patta land, totaling 26.83 hectares which were meant for farmers and tribals. 2.35 hectares was acquired by Abhishek Agrawal and 11.82 hectares by Aditya Srijan Pvt Ltd. The rest were acquired by two associates Arjun Singh and Abhiman Sunani.
Two companies Aditya Srijan Pvt. Ltd. And Purbasa Vanijya Pvt. Ltd. (where Abhishek Agarwal is one of the directors) are building a resort called Shyam Vatika on a portion of these various acquisitions totaling 44.85 hectares.
The case is being tried in court and has even been raised in the Parliament. At least 32.19 hectares can be directly attributed to the Agarwal family. All of the acquisitions discovered till now are wrought with faulty records or outright encroachment on government land.