He had fabricated a sale deed to usurp his brother’s land

The Madras High Court Bench here has confirmed the conviction imposed on a 70-year-old man by two lower courts for having attempted to usurp movable properties of his elder brother through a fabricated sale deed about 20 years ago.

Justice P.N. Prakash, however, commuted the sentence ordered by the lower courts from three years to 18 months of rigorous imprisonment since the counsel for the convict, A. Gopalan of Ezhuthesam village in Kanyakumari district, pleaded for leniency.

The judge pointed out that the convict had taken the assistance of his son and a few other friends in 1994 to prepare a fake sale deed to claim that he had purchased five cents of land in the village for a valuable consideration from his brother Baskara Nadar.

The sale deed was registered at the office of the Sub-Registrar at Ottasekaramangalam situated in the adjoining State of Kerala. There, one of the convict’s friends, Kunju Perumal, impersonated as Baskara Nadar and affixed signatures on the documents.

Later, the convict took possession of the land forcing the victim to lodge a police complaint.

During investigation, Mr. Gopalan produced a photocopy of the sale deed to the police and claimed that the complainant had actually sold the property to him.

However, after crosschecking the signatures found on the documents through handwriting experts, the police filed a cheating case which ended up in conviction in 2004.

An appellate court too confirmed the decision in 2009 and hence the present revision.

Dismissing the revision, Mr. Justice Prakash rejected the argument that only a court in Kerala had jurisdiction to conduct the trial. Since the land was situated in Tamil Nadu and deed was registered in Kerala, courts in both State would have jurisdiction, he said.

He also said that the failure of the police to produce the original sale deed could not be cited as a reason to acquit the convict since it was in the possession of the latter who had also voluntarily produced a photocopy of the document during the police investigation.

Recording the convict’s claim that the original sale deed got infested by termites, the judge said: “It sounds like covering a whole pumpkin in food.”

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