The High Court rejected the State government’s petition to quash the proceedings of the Taluk Land Board (TLB) at Vythiri regarding the land in possession of Harrisons Malayalam Ltd (HML).

Issuing the order, a Division Bench comprising Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and Justice A.V. Ramakrishna Pillai also refused to accept the plea that the TLB proceedings were vitiated and the company’s claims were based on fraudulent documents.

The State argued that the foreign company incorporated in the UK had been carrying out plantation activities under alleged possessory right on 59,693.997 acres of government land in eight districts based on fraudulent and invalid title-deeds. It contended that the entire proceedings initiated by TLB in respect of the land were void. The proprietorship of the land vested with the government was deliberately suppressed before the TLB and hence required the intervention of the court, it argued.

The company stated before the court that the arguments of the government that the company does not have any title over the land had nothing to do with the TLB proceedings.

The court observed that the government’s position that the TLB cannot proceed with the documents produced by a foreign company had to be adjudicated by an appropriate forum. It also rejected the argument that large extent of land possessed by the company was liable to be forfeited under the Kerala Escheats and Forfeiture Act, 1964.

Bail granted

A. Firoz, former Information and Public Relations Department Director and the third accused in a cheating case related to the solar scam, was on Monday allowed bail. Justice S.S. Satheesachandran of the High Court released him on bail. The petitioner had been in custody for more than six weeks, hence bail can be granted on imposing conditions. The counsel for the petitioner argued that further detention of the accused was not required for completing the probe though the prosecution submitted that he had played a key role in the case.

Verdict today

Staff Reporter writes from Kattappana: The Judicial First Class Magistrate Court, Adimaly, on Monday posted to Tuesday for verdict the bail applications of solar scam accused Saritha S. Nair and Biju Radhakrishnan. The court heard the arguments of the prosecution opposing the bail plea. Assistant public prosecutor P.N. Sajikumar argued that granting bail at this stage would affect the investigation as it has not been completed. The prosecution also argued that there were at least 33 cases pending against them in the State.

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