Former Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan seems to be in the news again — and not exactly for the right reasons.
Earlier this month, Balakrishnan was alleged to have done nothing on a letter from the Karnataka high court's justice R Reghupathy seeking action against the then telecom minister A Raja seeking to influence him in a case. Balakrishnan, who is currently chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, however, denied that the letter mentioned the minister's name.
This time, Malayalam news channel Asianet News reported on Sunday that Balakrishnan's son-in-law, PV Sreenijan, who had a meagre bank balance and no land four years ago, went on to amass property worth at least Rs7 crore since then.
The channel reported Sreenijan had unsuccessfully contested the assembly election from Kerala's Narackkal constituency in Ernakulam district on a Congress ticket in 2006. His affidavit to the Election Commission then said he had a bank balance of Rs25,000 and no landed property.
According to land registration documents cited by the channel, Sreenijan purchased 2.5 acres of a riverfront property for Rs14 lakh in Thrissur in 2007. Local residents said the market rate for one cent (one-hundredth of an acre) of the land is Rs2 lakh — meaning it is worth Rs5 crore.
The channel also showed footage of a sprawling resort under construction on the riverfront property.
In 2009, Sreenijan and wife KB Sony (Balakrishnan's daughter) jointly purchased 30 cents of land in the heart of Kochi, paying Rs1 lakh a cent — or Rs30 lakh for the property. The going rate for the plot now is Rs8 lakh per cent – or Rs2.4 crore.
The channel reported that Sreenijan's income tax returns for 2009-2010 showed his annual income as Rs25 lakh and that of his wife as Rs15 lakh.
The source of income was 'professional consultancy'.
The youth wing of the CPI-M, Democratic Youth Federation of India (DFYI), reacted sharply to the channel's report. "It is shocking news. There should be a thorough inquiry to reveal how he misused his position to amass disproportionate assets," said DYFI state secretary TV Rajesh.
Despite repeated attempts by HT, Sreenijan was not available for comment on the Asianet report.