THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Vizhinjam police have registered a case against Adimalathura Fathima Matha church vicar Fr Melbin Soosai in connection with a land grab complaint. The priest and the church committee are accused of encroaching more than 11 acres of puramboke land and 55 cents of government revenue land for constructing a convention centre and selling plots to fishermen.
The priest has been charged under sections 145 and 147 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPc) (dispute over the immovable property), sections 447 (trespassing) and 120b (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code. However, the arrest is yet to be recorded as the investigation is in progress.
Speaking to TNIE, S S Saji, Vizhinjam SI, said the probe is on and the priest would be summoned to the police station soon. “A case has been registered. But we can’t arrest him now as his involvement in the case has not been proved yet. So, we will summon him based on the progress of the probe,” he said.
On Thursday, District Collector K Gopalakrishnan visited the coastal hamlet of Adimalathura with a huge police force and issued a ‘stop memo’ on all the buildings that were partially and fully constructed on the encroached land. Earlier, the church committee had sold square plots of puramboke land to hundred-odd fishermen by accepting money without any documents. Though the district administration had intervened with the help of the police to evict the fishermen, the fishermen strongly resisted the move.
As per the district collector’s report, the diocese had sold plots to 266 families and encroached 11 acres of land, including half-acre revenue land. Apart from the government land, the church had also tried to implement an illegal water supply scheme at the spot.
The alleged illegal activity by the diocese came to light after the Kottukal village office issued an order prohibiting the construction activities on the shore.The village office had earlier noted that the vast puramboke land has been divided into several plots by constructing walls.