Express news service
CHENNAI: The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Directorate (DVAC) launched an investigation into the transfer of 3.45 acres of public land to Baashyaam Constructions, a Chennai-based real estate company, and conducted an investigation with RS Bharathi, the DMK Member of Rajya Sabha who brought the problem to the fore.
Bharathi told TNIE he was questioned by the investigator about a government order (GO) from the Department of Revenue and Disaster Management dated February 8. Bharathi had submitted a petition to then Governor Banwarilal Purohit requesting that a criminal complaint be registered against Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, Deputy CM O Panneerselvam and Revenue Minister RB Udhayakumar on the matter.
Permission was given for the construction of a world-class hypermarket and shopping center, which would generate 7,500 jobs, but the land was given to a private developer to build residential apartments, Bharathi said.
“Loss of Rs 500 cr as the government transferred land at half the market price”
After TNIE reported on the GO on April 6, Baashyaam issued a statement saying it had nothing to do with land. TNIE attempted to reach Baashyaam on Tuesday, but the company declined to comment. Bharati had alleged that the principal property had been alienated at the rate of 12,500 rupees per square foot for 10.5 acres of public land. The prevailing market rate was nearly 25,000 rupees per square foot, resulting in a loss of 500 crore rupees to the chess board. He also alleged that huge bribes were paid.
The alienation of land in favor of a private developer violates Revenue Standing Order 24, which envisages it for public purposes in favor of government companies, hospitals, electrical substations, bus stations , computer parks, among others, said Bharathi. The GO, accessible by TNIE, showed that the poramboke government land in Aminjikarai in Koyambedu had been alienated in favor of a private developer to build a shopping center and hypermarket.
However, 3.45 acres of the 10.5 acres allocated had no patta and were classified as government poramboke – Grama natham land. As a result, the developer was unable to obtain permission from the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) to implement the âworld-class projectâ. According to the GO, the developer has requested appropriate orders to issue a patta and authorize the proposed development so that it can “provide an investment worth 1,575 crore rupees”.
The 3.45 acres had already been sold to Saravana Bhavan, but since the land had no patta, the owners approached officials, who rejected their request in 2003, GO said. In 2005, Saravana Bhavan was ordered to be evicted and the land was to be transferred as grama natham land and entered in the prohibition order book for protection. In accordance with the GO, the land was disposed of as a special case on payment of the cost of the land at market value.