Sixteen years after the then Collector of Tiruchirappalli district purchased 3.20 hectares in Suriyur village from two persons, who were allegedly not owners of the land, for providing house sites to Adi Dravidars, the Madras High Court on Thursday said the matter should be entrusted to the CBI for verification of the entire records at the time of purchase.
Allowing a writ petition by the land’s original owner, Justice S. Arumughaswamy also directed the Chief Secretary to initiate disciplinary proceedings against all the erring officials concerned, including the then Collector (Rajiv Ranjan, at present Secretary to government) and the Tahsildar. The central agency should investigate the private sale and the persons involved in the transaction and proceed in an appropriate manner. After ascertaining the loss, the government should initiate proceedings to recover the same from the officials concerned effectively.
The lands had been purchased from Sahul Hameed and Nathar Sha and registered in the Sub-Registrar’s office, Tiruverambur, on April 15, 1997.
The petitioner, B. Mohamed Sheriff, claimed to be the landowner. Originally, the lands belonged to his father. The District Adi-Dravidar and Tribal Welfare Officer and the Special Tahsildar (Adi-Dravidar and Tribal Welfare), Tiruchirappalli, failed to verify the title and wrongly purchased the land from the two persons. He prayed the court to declare the land purchase transaction as null and void and restore the land to him.
Mr. Justice Arumughaswamy said undoubtedly all the documents produced by the petitioner carried the name of his father. It was not known as to how Mr. Ranjan, the then Collector, purchased the property on behalf of the government.