Saturday, September 29, 2012

Land grabbing of Chidambarams



[The series published in "The Pioneer" from Sept 7, 10 & 11 - 2012 on land grabbing by Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram's family and his blatant lies exposing discrepancies in several mandatory affidavits to Election Commission in 2004 & 2009 and to PM]
Sept 7, 2012
Chidambaram hid wife's land record
J Gopikrishnan
New Delhi

The statement of annual Assets and Liabilities filed by Finance MinisterP Chidambaram to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh does not give details of the controversial land off Chennai seashore held by his wife Nalini Chidambaram.

In his statement of Assets and Liabilities as of March 31, 2012, which was uploaded on Tuesday on the PMO website, Chidambaram has not mentioned the quantum of land his wife Nalini owns in Chennai’s prime location off the seashore along the East Coast Road .

The Chennai Police is probing allegations of land grabbing by Nalini and son Karti after several fishermen recently filed a complaint to CM J Jayalalithaa.

Till last year in his annual Assets and Liabilities statement, Chidambaram declared that the land held by his wife was agricultural land, but he did not disclose the details of the area under possession. The statement filed by Chidambaram to PMO, last year, says this land in Muttukad Village in East Coast Road is valued just Rs27 lakh.

The land records of Nalini’s holdings are suspect. According to the records with the Muttukad Village registry, Nalini holds five acres from 1991, but curiously the records do not say how she got the land; the columns to notify the previous owner or seller are blank.

In the thick of controversy over land grabbing charges faced by his wife and son, Chidambaram has changed the status of this controversial land in the latest statement to the PMO. This time he has not claimed this was agricultural land. While there is no mention of the quantum of land in his statement, he has devalued the price of land to Rs25 lakh. The market value of the land in this locality is currently Rs10 crore per acre.

Moreover, in March 2009 during DMK regime, M/s Kaiser Surya Samudra Resorts Pvt Ltd, a company controlled by Karti, got environment clearance for constructing a luxury hotel with 100 rooms on 12 acres, adjacent to Nalini’s properties. But the RoC document of the company is silent about these land holdings. Fishermen complain that this 12 acre land was also grabbed and probe by Chennai Police is still pending.

Sept 7, 2012

PC family sinks in land bog
Kumar Chellappan
Chennai

Hundreds of fishermen who have levelled serious land grab charges against Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s family, have accused them of illegally capturing major portions of Uppankali, a saltwater lake measuring 98 acres, and a three-kilometre stretch of seafront along the Bay of Bengal coastline near Chennai.

“This is in addition to the 12-acre land annexed by them after the 2004 tsunami devastation,” PS Sanjeevi, 55, a fisherman of Karikattukuppam village, said.

Jaya Palayan, president, South Indian Federation of Fishermen Societies (SIFFS), told The Pioneer that according to the land documents under his possession, the Chidambarams have grabbed land coming under survey numbers 113 and 114. “The three-kilometre long and 200-metre wide stretch of land between the lake and ocean has been grabbed by them,”said Palayan.

Fishing, the only livelihood of the entire village with a population of 1,500, has been upset because of the attempts by the Chidambarams to grab the lake and the Government land, they claimed.

“Chidambaram’s family has built a compound wall fortifying the grabbed land, the lake and the entire beach,” said GV Murugan, 41, another fisherman from the village. Both Murugan and Sanjeevi said that because of the compound wall, the entire fishing community has lost access to the sea.

“We are forced to take a detour of three kilometres to reach the beach from where we set out for fishing. We have to keep our boats, nets, heavy machinery and catamarans on a small stretch of land, far away from our dwelling places. The Chidambarams are pressurising us to remove the equipment from that land. They claim the ownership of that stretch of land too. The Chidambarams are planning to build a seaside resort with boating facilities,” said Vinayakam, another fisherman.

The group of fishermen led this reporter to the stretch of land allegedly grabbed by Nalini (wife of P Chidambaram) and Karti P Chidambaram (their only son). Murugan, who speaks English and keeps track of all land dealings in the village, said, “Nalini Chidambaram had reportedly purchased five acres of land in Karikattukuppam Village in 1991. After the 2004 tsunami, all of us were relocated to a distance of three kilometres from the shoreline. We were told to stay a safe distance away from the shore to safeguard against future tsunami attacks.”

“But one morning we found that the land where we were staying till tsunami struck has been occupied by the family of Chidambaram. They also annexed a portion of the lake, which was our only source of livelihood during lean season. Now, we have been asked to keep off the lake because they are going to build a resort. Efforts are on to fill the lake with sand and mud,” claimed Murugan.

“The Chidambaram family could be the only private individuals in the country owning a lake,” the fishermen added.

Mangalam, a fisherwoman, said a part of the lake has been filled with mud and sand. She said tsunami affected them for a day only, but the land grab has destroyed their lives forever.

Though the Finance Minister’s family constructed a three-kilometre long wall fortifying the lake and the seashore, the fishermen demolished a part of the wall. “We have got a stay order from the Madras High Court restraining the Chidambarams from building the wall,” said Sanjeevi.

The fishermen said the lake was three kilometres in length and 200 metres wide. “The entire land grabbed by the Chidambarams is a barren stretch where nothing grows other than Palmyra trees. Nothing could be cultivated there,” said Sanjeevi, who also charged that the Finance Minister in an affidavit to the Prime Minister had described the land as agriculture land.

All the fishermen in the village were born in Karikattukuppam itself. We know each other well and hence, land grabbing of any kind will be immediately detected by us, they said. “Last week, we had a meeting with Nalini Chidambaram at their Chennai residence. She asked us to vacate the land at the earliest and look for other jobs,” Murugan alleged.

Blatant violation of Coastal Regulation Act could be seen at the beach side of the lake where new houses have been built by those with the right kind of political patronage. “As per rules, nobody can build houses in the 100-metre stretch of land on either side of the lake. But the powers that be have turned a blind eye towards this violation,” added Sanjeevi.

Casual enquiries with local real estate dealers revealed that an acre of land in the Karikattukuppam Village costs Rs10 crore and above.

Sept 7, 2012

No land grabbing, says family counsel

Pioneer News Service
Chennai

R R Arun Natarajan, counsel for the family of P Chidambaram, denied all charges of land grabbing levelled against the latter’s family by a section of the fisherfolk. "The land at Karikkattukuppam near Muttukadu was purchased by Nalini Chidambaram and Karti P Chidambaram  in 1992. They have  the title deeds, pattas and all other documents which confirm the fact that they are the legal owners of the land. They are using the land uninterruptedly since then,” Natarajan told The Pioneer.

He said the charges are baseless and would not stand scrutiny in a court of law. Arun Natarajan was contacted by this newspaper as per the directive of Karti Chidambaram.
He said the fishermen were using the plot of land owned by the Chidambarams for open defecation since the houses provided to them by the State Government post-tsunami did not have toilets or drainage facilities. “My clients were forced to build the compound wall to keep the plot of land neat and clean. They have not trespassed into any Government or poramboke land,” said Natarajan.

According to Natarajan, the local Government did not take any action when his clients complained about trespassing by the fishermen for open defecation in the land. “It is true that they destroyed a portion of the compound wall built by my clients. We have filed a writ petition in the Madras HC and a complaint in the nearby Kanathur police station against these people. Let us see what is in store,” said Natarajan. But the question how a three kilometre long compound wall was constructed between the lake and the sea remains unanswered.

SHADY DEALS

# Now facing charges of land grab, Nalini Chidambaram had appeared for Murugan, a local fisherman in 2005 asking the Madras High Court to restrain a group of real estate brokers from constructing the same compound wall “She appeared for me in the Public Interest Litigation and argued that the compound wall was being built on the promboke land (free/public land owned by state). Then she made a volte-face and joined hands with the real estate cartel operating here,” said Murugan

# Pointing this out, Jaya Palayan, President, South Indian Fishermen Societies, said that the Court ruled in their favour. But within weeks, Nalini joined the same people who were behind the construction of the wall, said Palayan.

Sept 10, 2012       

PC scales down land's worth

J Gopikrishnan / Kumar Chellappan
New Delhi / Chennai

Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram doesn’t seem above board in the controversy over the alleged capturing of land by his family on Chennai’s East Coast Road . In the mandatory affidavits on assets and liabilities to the Prime Minister and the Election Commission of India, Chidambaram has declared sharply contrasting details of the land “owned” by his wife Nalini.

In his affidavit to the Election Commission in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, when he contested the Sivaganga seat, Chidambaram declared that his wife has a total of 3.72 acres in Muttukad and Kannathur villages. The total value of the two properties was quoted as 3.49 crore by Chidambaram. He said Nalini has 2.88 acres of land worth 2.44 crore in survey number 98/7 in Muttukad village, and 0.84 acres, valued at 1.05 crore, in survey number 103/1&2 in the same sea shore stretch in adjacent Kannathur village. Chidambaram stated both the properties as agricultural land. 

However, in affidavit of statement on assets and liabilities to Prime M i n i s t e r M a n m o h a n S i n g h , Chidambaram declared the value of the two prime properties to be just 27 lakh — which means a whopping 3.22 crore depreciation in two years. He continued to claim the agricultural land status, but to the PM he did not bother to provide any specifics of his wife’s controversial properties including survey numbers and land area. 

As if the two starkly contrasting details weren’t enough, in the current assets and liabilities statement (as on March 31, 2012) to the Prime Minister, which was uploaded a few days back on the PMO website, Chidambaram went a step further undervaluing his wife’s property by 2 lakh. The property’s value, which he had quoted as 27 lakh in 2009, has now been shown to be worth 25 lakh. 

Interestingly, this time around he didn’t claim agricultural status of the two properties but continued not to provide the area and survey numbers of the land in Nalini’s possession. As things stand, the current market price of land on the East Coast Road is around 10 crore per acre. According to the land registry records of Muttukad Panchayat, the details of which are with The Pioneer, around 10 acres of land is with Nalini under different sub-clauses of survey number 98. Going by the market value, the around 10-acre property owned by Nalini is worth 100 crore. Even if one were to go strictly by the land details stated by Chidambaram in his affidavits, Nalini's 3.72-acre property is worth over 30 crore as per the current market rate and not 3.49 crore. Also, neither 27 lakh nor 25 lakh! 

Apart from the discrepancies in the area of land that the Chidambarams own and the massive undervaluation, mysteriously, the mandatory columns for providing the details of previous landowners have been left blank. Chidambaram’s family claims these prime properties have been in their possession since 1991. 

But local fishermen allege this is a classic land grab case by the high and the mighty. According to the fishermen, the Chidambarams also hold an adjacent lake and are planning to construct a luxury hotel in the locality. 

In 2009, during the DMK regime, a company called Kaiser Surya Samudra — controlled by Chidambaram’s son Karti’s company Ausbridge Holdings — got environmental clearance for constructing a 100-room luxury hotel in the same locality. 

Though RoC documents of the company are silent about the land details, the State Government’s clearance certificate says the project is coming up on 12 acres in the same controversial locality. 

Both Nalini and Karti are now facing allegations of land grabbing in the sea shore areas of Muttukad and Kannathur village in Chennai’s plush East Coast Road . The State Government has ordered a probe after hundreds of fishermen of the area alleged that the Chidambarams have captured a three-kilometre long seafront. 


Sept 11, 2012

PC lands in more land trouble

J Gopikrishnan / Kumar Chellappan
New Delhi / Chennai

More skeletons have tumbled out of Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s closet. This time it is about the stark discrepancies in the land holding declared in the name of his wife in the affidavits filed before the Election Commission of India in 2004 and 2009.

In 2004 election affidavit, PC declared his wife Nalini held only 1.2 acres on Chennai’s seafront. But in the 2009 election affidavit under the same survey numbers, he declared a holding of 3.72 acres. At the same time, the latest land records in the panchayat register mention Nalini has around 10 acres in the locality since 1991.

Not only both affidavits differ with each other they also differ with his statements on assets and liabilities filed to the Prime Minister in 2011 and 2012 as well as land records register of the concerned panchayat.

In his affidavit filed before Election Commission for the  2004 Lok Sabha election, Chidambaram  declared his wife Nalini had a total of 1.2 acres under different survey numbers of the locality and declared Rs 95 lakh as the value of the properties.

In his affidavit, Chidambaram said, Nalini has 0.2 acres land property worth Rs 60 lakh under survey number 103/1&2 in Kanathur Village . He said that his wife also has 1 acre land worth Rs 35 lakh under survey number 98/7 in the adjoining Muttukadu Village.

But in the 2009 elections, Chidambaram declared his wife has a total of 3.72 acres under the same survey numbers. In his affidavit for the 2009 controversial Sivaganga Lok Sabha polls, Chidambaram said Nalini owned 0.84 acres in Kanathur Village under survey numbers 103/1&2 (same survey numbers mentioned in the 2004 affidavit) and valued the property for Rs 1.05 crore.

He said his wife also has 2.88 acres worth Rs 2.44 crore under survey number 98/7 (same survey number in 2004) in Muttukadu Village . The gross value of both lands was shown as Rs 3.49 crores. In his election affidavits and in his 2011 affidavit to PM on his assets and liabilities, Chidambaram showed as agriculture land which Nalini held near the seashore.

But in 2012, in his statement to the Prime Minister, he did not claim agriculture status to the same land. Chidambaram’s contrasting declarations on his wife’s properties to the Election Commission in 2004 and 2009 does not tally with the land records register of Muttukadu Panchayat.

The land register details available with The Pioneer shows that in the seafront area from 1991 onwards, Nalini had several tracts of land totalling around 10 acres. The land records have no mention of previous owners in most of the transactions.

The question arises as to  why Chidambaram did not mention in his election affidavits the details of the 10 acres held by his wife from 1991 onward as shown by the land records.
The Pioneer had already reported that in his statement to PM in 2011, Chidambaram undervalued the price of Nalini’s holdings in the seafront area to just Rs 27 lakh, without giving any specifics of the land including area wise details. 

In his latest filing to Prime Minister (as on March 31, 2012), while  he did not claim agricultural status to the land, he  further devalued it to Rs 25 lakh. It is a known that the current market price of the land is around Rs 10 crore per acre in Chennai’s East Coast Road . Like his earlier declaration to PM, the Finance Minister also did not give specifics of the land “owned” by his wife, who is facing allegations of land grabbing by fishermen community.

The fisher folk of the locality allege Chidambaram’s family members had encroached three kilometre stretch of the seafront area including a salt lake in the East Coast Road for constructing a luxury hotel. The State Government ordered a probe in this regard against Chidambaram’s wife Nalini and son Karti after fishermen recently lodged a complaint to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.

3 comments:

  1. In the earlier times, PC meant Politically Correct, but in these times of scams and sleaze PC means PUCCA CHOR. Thank you for the coinage, Dr Subramanian Swamy!
    Shame on you, P. Chorambaram!!
    Why are the the Media Houses and the Opposition parties turning a blind eye to the massive land-grab scams of PC? Have they been purchased lock stock and barrel?

    ReplyDelete
  2. PC means Pucca Chor. Why the other media and opposition parties like BJP and CPM keeping criminal silence of Chidambaram's family's massive land grabbing. Fearing Chidambaram? Gopikrishnan and Kumar Chellappan and Pioneer done great courageous job to take on fraud committed by Chidambaram. Congrats. Our media world is totally keeping quiet on Chidambaram. Why Arvind Kejriwal,the big mouth is keeping quiet on this open and shut case?

    ReplyDelete
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