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TN flouts norms to allot prime land

After Maharashtra and Karnataka, land scam hits Tamil Nadu

india Updated: Dec 07, 2010 23:45 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times

After Maharashtra and Karnataka, land scam hits Tamil Nadu.

Like in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu also saw influential people — especially those who were close to the ruling DMK —allegedly cornering prime residential plots using the chief minister’s discretionary quota.

Information obtained through an RTI query revealed that land was allotted to a sitting judge of the Madras High Court, a retired high court judge, kin of a state minister, some DMK and Congress MLAs and a top Intelligence official, among others, allegedly violating norms.

As many as 293 allotments were made from 2001 to 2008 under the chief minister’s discretionary quota. And a majority of these were doled out to people masquerading as social workers.

An RTI activist, Gopala Krishnan, who blew the lid on the scam, said the allotments were made by Tamil Nadu Housing Board, which was supposed to help create housing for those who do not own a flat, a house or a plot.

According to the TNHB norms, 15% of the TNHB land bank can be allotted under the discretionary quota to people belonging to 15 categories, such as widows, physically challenged people, social workers, eminent people in science, arts, literature and sports, government servants with unblemished service record and freedom fighters.

Krishnan told HT: “We are not questioning that. What we are questioning is how norms were flouted to make the allotments.”

He said there were instances where a few people were allotted more than one plot in their names or their relatives’ names.

For that, he said norms were changed or applications were manipulated to overlook false declarations or certificates. In some cases, municipal councilors and even tehsildars — the lowest revenue officials — issued certificates, asserting that the candidate was an ‘eminent social worker’.

Housing board officials, however, maintain that all allotments were made strictly according to rules.

First Published: Dec 07, 2010 23:44 IST