CBI probe into alleged land scam cited

The struggle by Kadakampally residents to remit land tax suffered a major setback with the Advocate General giving an adverse opinion on the issue citing an ongoing investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into a land scam involving 44.5 acres and court cases.

District Collector Biju Prabhakar told The Hindu that the AG had opined that since the CBI was conducting a probe into the alleged land scam based on an order of the High Court, it would not be appropriate to collect tax. Besides, the AG had pointed out that there were cases pending in the courts with respect to the land for which the residents wanted to remit the tax, he said.

“So, we have decided not to collect tax till the CBI inquiry is over. The residents can approach the court to get their grievances redressed,” Mr. Prabhakar said.

The AG’s opinion was sought by the District Collector after the residents intensified their struggle to pay tax, which was denied by the Kadakampally village officer after two title-deeds were detected for one survey number.

The Kadakampally Land Protection Action Council, however, said the AG’s opinion was sought to delay the entire process. Thankachan, member of the action council, said the Collector had promised to pave the way for remitting tax after collecting fresh applications along with receipts of land tax paid in the past. Accordingly, 137 residents had submitted the applications and the receipts, he said.

The court order directing the CBI to conduct the probe was proof that there was an attempt to grab the land, he said. “The government is trying to cover up the entire issue owing to the involvement of Salim Raj, former gunman of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. We will consult other members to chalk out a strategy,” he said.

Meanwhile, a team constituted by the Collector has begun a resurvey of the 44.5 acres to find out the actual position of the land and the real title owners. The survey will also ascertain the extent of land the real owners possess.

The survey, which began on Monday, would be completed in two weeks’ time, the Collector said.