Thursday, August 04, 2011

Land grabbing in Tamil Nadu

The new government headed by Jayalalitha is on an arresting spree. Yet another former DMK minister was arrested today on charges related to land grabbing. Already one former DMK minister is in judicial remand. There are talks of possible cases against MK Azhagiri's wife Kanthi.

Land grab is the easiest way to make money for the politicians. They do this when they are in power. Grabbing government land (poramboke land) without a clear title is the easiest. Then, the acquisition can be legalised over time with appropriate orders. I am not fully aware of the process. I will be grateful if someone can educate me on this.

The second method is legally acceptable but morally repugnant. The Chief Minister uses his discretionary powers to allocate land owned by the government to his chamchas at rock bottom prices. Then, this land is parcelled and resold to developers for a huge profit. This is a widespread issue. Former Karnataka CM Yeddiyurappa is accused of this (amongst many wrongdoings). Jaffer Sait, ADGP (now suspended) of Police and head of intelligence in the previous DMK government has been accused of this. So are several others.

The third method gets into the murkier world of underground. You threaten poor, invalid and meek with dire consequences and take over their land on forged power of attorney documents. The meek will simply suffer. They cannot complain as the police will not file cases against the ruling party goondas. They give up. Ugly though it may be, this seems to be the perennial resource for the politicians.

It is on this account that almost everyone in the DMK and his dog is being accused off now. There have been such allegations against the jailed MP and former telecom Minister A. Raja. Kanimozhi, Rajathi Ammal and their alleged benamis are accused of such doings. As mentioned above, Azhagiri is accused of the same. Almost every single minister in the previous government and probably all the MLAs are accused of this. I am yet to hear of Stalin or Karunanidhi being directly accused.

One of the moves by Jayalalitha widely acclaimed (except by the DMK) is setting up a special complaint cell for this purpose. And the cases are streaming in.

Nobody, except the die-hard DMK cadre, believes that the cases are foisted falsely on these people. DMK leaders are rather talking about inaction on cases related to AIADMK people during the 2001-2006 period. (Surely DMK government should have processed them then?)

Sanctity of the private property is paramount in our modern democracy. No one has the right to take away the land owned by ordinary people without convincing the particular person and paying the right market rates. (Government with its eminent domain is another issue and needs to be discussed elsewhere.) That politicians can easily break this is a dangerous scenario. I applaud Jayalalitha for this aggressive move, even though it has been taken to spite her opponents. This will set a chain of events whereby DMK will prosecute the evil doing of AIADMK in the next term and so on. In the meantime, the civilians will get emboldened to create institutions to prevent such fraud being committed on them by thugs of the political parties.

Till then, we will watch with glee one more former minister going to jail.


  1. the number of victims and the complaints seriously gives a very true picture on these politicians who has been misusing the power...but more than these politicians, i would expect all the officers who were also involved in this scandal should also be punished, especially the ones in the police, law and order..
    i have a doubt. assume that these DMK political thugs grabbed the land from an innocent man and sold it to another innocent man with all the legal papers, will this new innocent owner face the trouble?

  2. Badri, it does not matter who comes to power (I mean DMK or AIDMK). All are same, they look for opportunity to steal the lands and make money out of it as both are corrupt minded parties.

  3. I live in Canada near Toronto. 3 years back similar incidents happened here. (Not by politicians/ police, but by few thugs) Govt came upon heavily on the banks who helped finance the buyers. they are supposed to do a proper check before issuing loans. If they did not do a proper job, then they have accept the risk not the original land owner/ buyer