A family in the city has accused Salim Raj, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s former gunman, of using his influence and clout to assist his brother-in-law Abdul Majeed to deprive them of their ancestral property of 1.16 acres estimated at Rs. 25 crore at Edappally Pathadipalam in Thrikkakara North village.
Addressing a press conference here on Saturday, A.K. Nasser said that his family has been in possession of the property for three generations dating back to the late 1950s and that he and his brother A.K. Naushad inherited it from his late father Khader Pillai.
Mr. Nasser said that a civil suit between his family and Mr. Majeed, who is their neighbour, has been going on in the Ernakulam sub-court for long after the latter disputed the ownership of the land. The case was based on Mr. Majeed’s claim that the land belonged to the Elangalloor Swarupam (the erstwhile rulers of the Edappally kingdom) and that his father had secured the title deed for the same during the 1960s.
Mr. Nasser claimed that this was a baseless allegation and that a criminal case was registered against Mr. Majeed for tampering with title deeds produced in the sub-court. Mr. Majeed, he said, has been trying to establish that the land belonged to Elangalloor Swarupam since then, with an eye to seize it for a negligible price.
Two years ago, Mr. Nasser was turned away by the village office authorities without accepting the land tax stating that the land belonged to the Elangalloor Swarupam and hence his family did not have the right of possession over it. This was based on a petition, which was moved by Mr. Majeed.
But the family managed to convince the Kanayannur tahsildar about their rights over the land who decided in their favour. Mr. Nasser said that though Mr. Majeed approached the Land Revenue Commissioner to overturn this decision, it proved futile.
“Then, to our shock, we got a notice out of the blue from the office of the Land Revenue Commissioner on September 4, 2012, stating that we neither have the right of possession over the land nor have secured title deeds and that it remains vested with the government,” Mr. Nasser said. The order further asked revenue officials concerned to cancel the transfer of registry and report back.
The family approached the High Court against the order and secured a stay on its execution till further orders.
He alleged that forged documents drawn up by revenue officials had led to the Land Revenue Commissioner’s decision. “This was made possible by the influence wielded by Salim Raj and his wife who is employed in the office of the Land Revenue Commissioner. We have given a memorandum to the Revenue Minister to order a vigilance inquiry against her,” Mr. Nasser said. The family also demanded the suspension of village and taluk officials involved in the matter.
Reacting to the charges, Mr. Majeed said that the allegations raised against him were baseless. He said that there was no reason for his brother-in-law Mr. Salim Raj to get involved in the case. “How will he benefit if the land is taken over by the government? Anyway, he had served as the Chief Minister’s gunman for less than three years while the litigation between me and Nasser had been going on since 1996. The fact is that he has appropriated the land over which we also share the rights,” he said.
He said that rather than raising the issue through the media, Mr. Nasser would do well to present the documents, which he claims he possesses, in the High Court in connection with a case which he himself has filed.