Another son-in-law of National Human Rights Commission chief and former Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishan, MJ Benny, has been found to have amassed disproportionate assets.
This comes close on the heels of a vigilance probe against his eldest son-in-law and Congress leader, PV Sreenijan, and state advocate general's marching order to his brother, government pleader KG Bhaskaran.
HT has access to records at Maradu Panchayat on the outskirts of Kochi city, showing that Benny had purchased 96.5 cents of land (100 cents make an acre) between 2008 and 2010 for Rs. 81.50 lakh, while the actual cost of the land was at least ten times higher.
The land was purchased in five installments in a single village and the last registration was done on March 26, 2010. This was done just five days before the state fixed the fair price for land on April 1, 2010 to check speculation.
Sources in Kochi said Benny, an advocate who showed an earning of Rs. 5.50 lakh in his 2009 income tax return file, did not take any bank loan to purchase the five plots of land.
Benny's family is also not wealthy, as one of his brothers is a low-level employee in Kerala High Court and another is a driver. The youngest, Benny, married his classmate KB Rani, Balakrishnan's second daughter, fours years ago.
Benny chose to remain silent on the issue as did his brother-in-law, Sreenijan.
The HT was the first newspaper to report on Sreenijan and Bhaskaran's wealth.
A Congress candidate in 2006 assembly elections from Ernakulam district, Sreenijan's affidavit with the Election Commission showed that he owned no land and had a bank balance of Rs. 25,000. In four years, his wealth shot up to several crores.
Bhaskaran also purchased 60 acres of land in Dindigal in Tamil Nadu, which does not match his known sources of income.
Meanwhile, Justice (retired) VR Krishna Iyer, a former Supreme Court judge, asked Justice Balakrishnan to put the records straight.
"It is high time to break his silence. With more allegations surfacing, it is better to face a judicial probe."