IDUKKI: In a major setback to state Power Minister MM Mani, Idukki district Crime Branch on Monday submitted the final report in the Chinnakkanal land grab case before the Judicial First Class Magistrate Court, Nedumkandam, mentioning his brother Lambodaran and the latter’s brother-in-law and 22 others as accused.
The Crime Branch submitted the chargesheet 12 years after former Devikulam tahsildar P V Ramdas had filed a complaint alleging that Lambodaran and his kin with the support of revenue department officials had encroached on around 105 hectares of government land at Venad Thavalam in Chinnakkanal village of Idukki.
In the complaint filed in 2007, the tahsildar alleged that Lambodaran had got illegal possession of the land by fabricating the patta (title deed).
Although a case was registered by Santhanpara police under Crime Number 149/07 (139/CB/IDK/07), the issue turned controversial during the time of the Munnar mission of the V S Achuthanandan government against encroachments in 2007, which forced the government to order a Crime Branch probe into the issue. However, successive governments changed the investigation team delaying the filing of the chargesheet. It was after a probe by the 13-member investigation team that the final chargesheet against the 24 accused including Lambodaran was filed on Monday.
Lambodaran’s brother-in-law P A Rajendran is the first accused in the case, while Lambodaran is the second accused. They are accused of illegal possession of land and forging documents, while the 22 other accused are revenue officials. Five of the 22 revenue officials are not alive now. The officials are being charged with supporting the culprits to encroach on the government land.
In the complaint filed in 2007, the tahsildar alleged that Lambodaran had got illegal possession of the land by fabricating the title deed. Though a case was registered, the issue turned controversial at the time of the Munnar mission of the V S government, forcing the government to order a Crime Branch probe. However, successive governments changed the probe team delaying the filing of the chargesheet.
The report revealed that the ‘patta’ bearing No. LA-202/70 in Survey Number 151/1 was fabricated by Rajendran to possess 3.98 acres of land in Venad Thavalam. In 2002, the encroachers with the support of then village assistant Stewart K Jacob tore away the thanda paper numbering 474 from the thandaper register (number 5) and replaced the page with a new thanda paper in Rajendran’s name. “The same day, Rajendran paid the land tax for 2001-2002,” the report said. “On December 21, 2004, Lambodaran bought the land from Rajendran. Knowing that it was a forged tile deed, Lambodaran later influenced the revenue officials and conducted mutation of the property (pokkuvaravu) on January 10, 2005 and he transferred the title deed to his son ML Lajeesh’s name on October 8, 2006,” it said. The Crime Branch is yet to submit the chargesheets in another two cases related to the Chinnakkanal land grab.