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Updated: July 25, 2010 23:54 IST

Inquiry finds hand of officials in tribal land scam

G. Prabhakaran
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Caught in its sweep: A couple of windmills at Kottathara village of Attappady in Palakkad district.
Caught in its sweep: A couple of windmills at Kottathara village of Attappady in Palakkad district.

Officials of the Revenue and the Registration departments have been accused of involvement in the tribal land scam at Attappady in a report submitted by K.V. Vasudevan, Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO), Ottappalam, to District Collector K.V. Mohan Kumar here on Saturday. The report was prepared after verification of land records at Kottathara village.

Mr. Vasudevan's inquiry also found the involvement of some officials of the Attappady Hill Area Development Society (AHADS) in the fraud. They had supplied the survey map records and bought tribal land and sold it to windmill companies at huge profits, the report says.

He found that in six cases, the land was registered merely on the strength of tax receipts and without proper documents. This was possible only with the connivance of the Sub-Registrar of Agali. The RDO has recommended action against the official.

The inquiry found that the then Kottathara Village Officer had issued tax receipts to those who had no land in the area. Using these, land records were fabricated and used for registration of land at the Sub-Registrar's office.

The District Collector suspended the then village assistant, who was the Village Officer in-charge in 1992, from service on the basis of the report. He is learnt to have recommended action against the Sub-Registrar for allowing registration without having the details of back documents to prove the actual ownership of land.

The report cites the case of Shelvi who, along with her sister Savithri, sold 12 acres of land to a windmill company by fabricating documents. They originally owned only one acre of land at Kottathara. The remaining 11 acres were tribal land usurped by them by fabricating documents using tax receipts for 12 acres, which they sold to the windmill company through an intermediary.

As much as 4.5 acres of the land was sold to one Sreedharan Kartha for Rs.2 lakh on June 4, 2008 and it was resold by him for Rs.17.5 lakh after six months on December 21, 2008 to the company. Here, undervaluation of land was also detected, the inquiry report says.

The District Collector, who sent the report to the State government on Sunday, is learnt to have recommended a detailed inquiry by a high-level team on the land transaction in all six villages of the Attappady tribal heartland.

Judicial probe sought

Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, Congress leader, who led a delegation of MLAs of the United Democratic Front to Attappady on Saturday, told The Hindu over phone on Sunday that the Opposition wanted a judicial inquiry or an investigation by an Assembly committee.

He said that the Government should cancel the registration of land at Kottathara since the RDO's report found fabrication of documents.

Collector suspends Village Officer

Report sent to government

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