Landshark sold 55 acres of grabbed govt land in Vagamon as plots

Landshark sold 55 acres of grabbed govt land in Vagamon as plots
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Thodupuzha: Land encroachers are finding it hard to hold on to the amassed properties as law enforcers in Kerala are after them. A Crime Branch report has revealed that an estate owner had fabricated fake title deeds and encroached upon over 55 acres of government land at Vagamon in Kerala's Idukki district which has been the scene of land grabs for several generations.

Ernakulam native Jolly Stephen, who is also the owner of the Ranimudi estate, and his father K J Stephen had taken over the government land, said the Crime Branch report. When they bought 54 acres of tea plantation at Vagamon in 1989, they also encroached on the adjacent 55 acres of government land.

The land encroached by Jolly Stephen was also divided into various plots and sold to gullible buyers. Revenue officials and politicians were also involved in the shady deal, states the probe report submitted by the Crime Branch in the Kerala High Court.

The duo fabricated 15 fake title deeds for this land with the help of the then revenue officials at the Peermade taluk. However, the Crime Branch report pointed out that none of the owners mentioned in the title deeds were for real and were just imaginary names.

The accused also managed to get the power of attorney for the 55 acres of land in the name of their relative Biju George from the sub-registrar office.

The Crime Branch unearthed the land grab while they were probing another land dispute complaint filed by Jolly's former wife.

A few days ago Crime Branch had filed a charge-sheet against Kerala Power Minister M M Mani’s close relatives for encroaching government property at Chinnakanal in Idukki district. Also, former parliamentarian Joice George and his family were deprived of the ownership rights of several acres of land at Kottakkamboor village in the same region over charges of encroachment years ago.

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