Idukki: Former Devikulam deputy tahsildar M I Raveendran has slammed the Kerala government's reported move to annul title deeds (pattayams) that came to be known in his name. He urged the state authorities to reconsider any attempts in this regard as it may lead to corruption and legal hassles.
It is feared a few properties in Munnar and Devikulam may pass over to the state if the title deeds are revoked, though the government has announced new title deeds will be issued to eligible people within two months. Some lands belong to CPM and CPI, the two main political parties which are part of the political coalition running the state government.
A CPM party office and a resort have come up on a plot for which the title deed was issued in the name of former minister MM Mani.
Sensing the risk, on Wednesday, Mani threatened that "no one will dare to lay hands on party property".
"The party office stood there even before the pattayams were issued," Mani claimed. "They were issued legally and handed over during a 'pattaya mela'" (the once-popular government-held event to distribute title deeds.)
"The buildings on such property won't be razed. People can approach the government and seek legal remedy," Mani said referring to the move to cancel the title deeds.
Meanwhile, Raveendran suspected a move to regularise the ownership of the lands for which he had issued the title deeds in 1999.
"If the pattayams are cancelled abruptly, new ones could be issued and they could be regularised," Raveendran told Manorama News on Wednesday.
"Several people had secured the title deeds then claiming the land would be used for farming or building houses. But they came to be used for commercial purposes," Raveendran said.
Raveendran, 74, became a controversial figure after he issued 530 pattayams in nine villages in Devikulam taluk while serving as the deputy tahsildar, allegedly by manipulating an order of the Land Assignment Committee. These revenue documents later came to be known, derisively, as Raveendran Pattayams.
How it all happened
Raveendran was entrusted with the task of issuing title deeds by the then Idukki district collector V R Padmanabhan with an order containing a proviso to exercise all the powers enjoined on the particular post. However, the Revenue Department failed to publish the collector’s order in the gazette to validate it through statutory regulation. As a result, he was legally disqualified to issue title deeds in his additional capacity as tehsildar. The issue snowballed into a controversy after ‘Raveendran Pattayams’ were deemed illegal by special officer K Suresh Kumar, who headed the Special Task Force (STF) for evictions from encroached lands and demolitions of buildings on such property in Munnar in 2007 when V S Achuthanandan was the chief minister.
“The CPI had obtained title deed to a 7-cent plot to construct the party office by showing its former state secretary P K Vasudevan Nair as being a farmer. M M Mani was the CPM’s district secretary when the CPI applied for the title to a 25-cent property on the ground that it was for agriculture, but it was later used for commercial purposes,” Raveendran had clarified earlier.