HC orders comprehensive probe into land grab case
The Kerala High Court on Wednesday ordered a comprehensive probe by the Revenue Principal Secretary in Thrikkakara land grab case involving revenue officials of Ernakulam district and Salim Raj, former gunman of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.
In a somersault, Advocate-General K P Dandanpani changed his earlier stand and submitted that the state has no objection in ordering a CBI probe in the land grab case.
Justice Harun-Ul-Rashid held that considering the facts and circumstances of the case, an inquiry will have to be conducted regarding the role played by the Thrikkakara Village Officer, Special Village Officer of Kanayannur taluk, new Tahasildar of Fort Kochi, Additional Tahasildar, Salim Raj and his wife Shamshad, who is employed in the office of the Land Revenue Commissioner. The Principal Secretary should look into the role played by the officials, falsification of records and forgery, if any, regarding the land. The court made clear that none of the persons who wield power and other higher officials in the state should interfere in the probe ordered by the High Court. “Interference from any side, including ministers and higher officials, if any, shall be seriously considered,” it observed. The court directed the Revenue Principal Secretary that it should conduct an independent and fair probe and submit the report without giving any room for complaints. The secretary should filed the report before the Court within 15 days.
The court passed the order while considering a petition by N A Sherifa of Pathadipalam and others seeking a CBI probe in the land grab case. The petitioners alleged that Salim and his wife used their clout to deprive rights over their ancestral property of 1.16 acres at Thrikkakara. They claim absolute title to the properties on the basis of authentic registered documents and pre-existing thandaper registers.
But revenue officials in Ernakulam ‘deliberately overlooked’ and ignored those documents and ‘falsely’ prepared a report against them. According to the petitioners, the accused had bribed and compelled the revenue officials to forge false documents including false ‘thandaper’ for the purpose of obtaining the title of petitioners.
They alleged that original documents of the land with the Revenue Department were destroyed by officials in the village offices and they might have done this at the behest of Salim Raj.
However, the respondents in the case submitted that the petitioners had forged all documents.