Vigilance moots case against HML
The Vigilance that probed the alleged forgery of documents of Harrisons Malayalam Ltd (HML), has recommended initiating criminal cases against the company and the officials in the Revenue Department who had helped the company in allegedly forging of documents. The report submitted to the Vigilance Director by the Vigilance SP also recommends issuing an ordinance or enacting a legislation on the lines of the Kannan Devan Hills (Land Resumption) Act 1971 to take over the government lands in the illegal possession of HML. Vigilance SP E Sharafuddin said that the report has been submitted to the Director.
It was found that the documents were fabricated and as such a criminal case against the company officials and the Revenue officials has been recommended.
Vigilance DySP Nandanam Pillai who probed the authenticity of document 1600/1923, which related to about 26,000 acres of land registered at the Kollam Principal Registration office, found that the documents and survey maps with the company are all fabricated and have been made outside the country, especially England.
The document was found to be in high quality paper with John Dickinson and company water mark, which was not in use then, sources said. Moreover, the conch insignia of the Travancore royal family embossed in the paper did not tally with the insignia of that time, which was egg shaped, they said.
The Vigilance has also noted that the stamp papers to the tune of Rs 43,000 used for registration, were also fake.
As per the stamp regulation at that time, high value stamp paper should only be bought directly from the Travancore Government Secretariat. The report also suggests a detailed inquiry into the loans availed of by the company by pledging illegally held lands. It is also learnt that the Vigilance has suggested an extensive probe by the Centre on violation of FERA.
The Vigilance had also come across lands in the possession of the company that were purchased by the government by paying ponnum vila as per the Edavagai Rights Acquisition Act, 1955. The Vigilance had also come across difference in the the measurements. The measurement in the documents were in terms of hectares whereas ‘hectare’ as a metric system was only introduced in the State in 1966.
Though there used to be English translation for all the original Malayalam documents of that time at the registrar office, the inquiry report points out this particular document did not have any English translation.
Also, the Registrar’s signature, which was mandatory for all pages as per the registration rule, was only found in alternate pages. The Vigilance inquiry had also landed up in controversy after Nandanam Pillai was transferred in the midst of the investigation.