The new UDF government in Kerala on Wednesday cancelled the land allotment to a relative of former chief minister VS Achuthanandan (VS), and ordered a vigilance inquiry into the deal. Announcing this, chief minister Oommen Chandy said on preliminary examination irregularities were found in the allotment.
Official documents accessed by HT show the land revenue commissioner and the Kasarkkode district collector had strongly opposed the “illegal transfer” of the plot.
TK Soman, VS’s nephew and a former lance naik in the army, was allotted 2.33 acres (one acre = 43,560 square feet) in northern Kasarkkode district in the last year of the earlier government after overruling the objections of senior revenue officials.
Soman got the freehold property on condition that it should not be sold in 25 years, but this stipulation was waived later
“In such conditions, the maximum land allotment is not more than one acre. Here it is more than 2 acres. And there is a strict condition that it should not be sold in 25 years. It seems both the conditions were flouted. The vigilance department will inquire into this,” Chandy said.
KP Rajendran, revenue minister in the previous government, said: “I don’t have anything to hide. Let the vigilance (department) inquire.”
VS was not available for comment.
Till the 1970s there was a system by which government land was allotted to landless soldiers but later the practice was discontinued. Seeking to avail himself of the facility, Soman had applied for government land in 1977. Subsequently in the same year, land was allotted to him in Kasarkkode. But the deal fell through because Soman could not fulfil some financial obligations.
However, the same file was dug up 30 years later and submitted again to the government in June 2007. Finally, the land was allotted in June 2010.