KASARAGOD: If last week Manjeshwar MLA and IUML leader of Kasaragod M C Kamaruddin was mired in quicksand, this week he could be beginning to sink.
The CPM has alleged that around nine mahal committees in Padna, Trikaripur, and Valiyaparamba gram panchayats have illegally invested in Kamaruddin's Fashion Gold business. "The investments were made without the permission of the Kerala State Wakf Board," said CPM district secretary M V Balakrishnan.
Mahal committees control the assets of the mosques under them, and if the mosques are registered with Wakf Board, then the assets also belong to the board.
In a press conference on Monday, Balakrishnan alleged the IUML leaders, including Kamaruddin, misuse the influence as community leaders to raise money for their business.
"With the gold businesses tanking, many small investors and the Mahal committees are in a spot of losing their money," said V P P Mustafa, CPM district secretariat member and a party leader from Trikaripur, Kamaruddin's home town.
Mustafa said the chairman of Fashion Gold is Kamaruddin and the managing director is T K Pookoya Thangal, who is also the district president of the Sunni Mahal Federation and president of Trikaripur Muslim Jamaath. "These positions give Pookoya Thangal unquestioned access to and influence over the assets of Mahal committees," Mustafa said and added that he was using the influence to further his business interest.
Several small investors in the coastal villages have also trusted their gold with Kamaruddin's group.
"Fashion Gold enters into an agreement with the small investors assuring them of monthly dividends and return of their investment in the form of gold jewellery when they need it back," said an investor who pledged gold worth Rs 7 lakh in the group. The investor, who returned from the Gulf now after losing his job, said he made the investment for his daughter's wedding. "I am not in a position to ask the money back because of the presence of Thangal," he said.
A Thangal is a revered figure in the Muslim community because he is considered to be a descendant of Prophet Muhammad.
Last week, it came to light that the Trikaripur Educational and Charitable Trust -- run by seven IUML leaders including Kamaruddin -- illegally bought two acres and three cents of Wakf land at Rs 30 lakh when the purported market price is Rs 6 crore.
The land in West Trikaripur was managed by Jamia Sadiya Islamia, an organisation of E K faction of Samastha Kerala Jamiat-ul-Ulema -- the principal Sunni scholarly body.
Jamia Sadiya Islamia is registered with Kerala State Wakf Board and was started to set up as a home for orphans and the destitute in 1993.
Interestingly, the chairman of Jamia Sadiya Islamia is Pookoya Thangal and the land was illegally transferred to M C Kamaruddin, said Mustafa.
The land has a 10,000 sqft two-storey Gems English Medium School, a 1,000 sqft mosque, and two more buildings with an asbestos roof.
The CEO of Kerala State Wakf Board B M Jamal has sent show-cause to the stakeholders. "The Wakf Board should expedite the legal process and take action," said Balakrishnan.
According to Section 52 (A) of the Wakf Act, selling or buying of wakf property without the board's sanction is a criminal offence and attracts rigorous imprisonment of up to two years.
The CPM's district secretary said the frontline leaders of the IUML in the district were raising money from small households by promising them assured dividend and return of the investment, and putting the money in jewellery businesses, private colleges and schools and a hospital in Mangaluru. "They must have raised at least Rs 100 crore in cash and gold," he said.
He said the Trikaripur Educational and Charitable Trust -- which run Trikaripur Arts and Science College -- is run by Kamaruddin, district panchayat president A G C Basheer, Trikaripur panchayat standing committee chairperson V K Bava, and Valiyaparamba panchayat president M T Jabbar among others.
The CPM leader said the trust bought 10 acres of wet and marshy land in Trikaripur to construct its own building for the college knowing very well that construction on wetland was not allowed. "But the corruption in the land dead will be known when the rate is made public," Balakrishnan said.
The owners of the land got Rs 6,000 per cent, but the college committee paid Rs 58,000 per cent for the marshy land, the CPM district secretary said.
The CPM leaders said the small investors who trusted the money with Trust stand to lose the money.
According to Kannur University's rules, a college should have its own building within three years of starting academic activities. When Trikaripur Arts and Science College failed to have its own building, the university forbade it from admitting students in 2018.
In 2019, the Trikaripur Trust showed the building of Peace International School and said it was shifting to the building and got permission to admit students.
"This year (2020), the college showed the building of Gems English Medium School on the 2.03 acres illegally bought from Jamia Sadiya Islamia. How long will they continue this charade," Balakrishnan asked.
The CPM said it would be organising protests in 12 places in the district on Tuesday to expose the nexus between the IUML leaders and community leaders, and together how they are swindling public money and Wakf assets.