The Gujarat High Court on Monday pulled up tribal land owners and a lawyer for blackmailing and extorting money from builders by utilizing the “powerful potent weapon in their hands in the form of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.”

The Gujarat High Court on Monday pulled up tribal land owners and a lawyer for blackmailing and extorting money from builders by utilizing the “powerful potent weapon in their hands in the form of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.”
The Court was hearing a bunch of Petitions by the builders, seeking to quash an FIR registered against them on the basis of a complaint alleging that the Petitioners had fraudulently obtained the piece of land in Surat from its tribal owners on the basis of a forged power of attorney, and undertaken construction on the same. The complainants had alleged violation of Section 73AA of the Gujarat Land Revenue Code, which mandates Collector’s permission for transfer of land from a tribal owner to a non-tribal person.
It, therefore, allowed the Petitions partly, quashing the offences under Sections 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code, and other Atrocities Act. It, however, opined that the allegations with regard to the forging of the two PoAs needed investigation.
The Court, thereafter, directed the investigation to be transferred from the current Investigating Officer to the Commissioners of Police, who was also ordered to look into allegations of blackmailing and extortion.
sides, it noted that the proceedings with regard to the breach of Section 73AA had already been initiated by the authorities, and ordered such proceedings to continue, without any regard to the observations made in the Petitions in hand.

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