Dinakaran land survey over

Dinakaran land survey over

SoI probe team likely to submit report by February 15

A month after the eight-member Survey of India (SOI) team led by Sanjay Kumar, member-secretary, SoI, Lucknow, set their base camp near the village and began their field work on January 7, “they are winding up on Monday as their work ends,” official sources told Deccan Herald over the phone.

Though officials are tight-lipped about what the SoI team has concluded from its land-mapping of the entire village with sophisticated equipment, sources indicated that the land measurement has been done with a great deal of precision including the portion encroached upon by the judge. The team had also used satellite imaging and the data have been fed into a computer.

Sources said the SoI team is likely to submit its report by Feb 15 to the Department of Science and Technology (DST) under whose directive they undertook this task in the wake of public outcry following charges that Justice Dinakaran’s family had encroached upon about 440 acres of government land in Kaverirajapuram in Tiruttani Taluk alone.
The stage-setting for the field-survey came when the SoI team led by Major Gen Dr R Sivakumar, CEO, National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) held preliminary enquiry in Chennai on December 30 last, when it heard both sides.

The official side was represented by Thiruvallur District Collector V Palanikumar, who reiterated to the SoI team his two earlier reports to the Supreme Court collegium that nearly 199.5 acres of all types of “poromoboke” land had been encroached upon by the judge.

At that initial hearing, judge’s wife, Dr Vinodhini Dinakaran, had denied the land-grab charges and submitted documents to the panel attesting to the about 48 acres of “patta” land alone their family had acquired over a period of time, that , too, when Dinakaran was a practising lawyer in the Madras High Court, much before he was elevated as a judge.

However, as this controversy broke out with lawyers of the Forum for Judicial Accountability belling the cat by submitting a detailed memoranda to the apex court, Justice Dinakaran got embroiled in a further controversy with alleged attempts to remove the fencing in the encroached “poromboke” lands at Kaverirajapuram. This was seen as an attempt to do away with markers in a bid to refute the charges mounting against him.

Asked whether the SOI’s land-mapping had also documented this aspect, official sources said, “we cannot say until we see their report.” Major Gen Sivakumar had while commencing the probe said the SoI’s survey would be a purely factual report, “a true reflection of what is on the ground.”  It would enable the decision-makers to arrive at a decision as contradictory claims had been made, the probe officer had said.

The problematic aspect is whether the survey will establish “ownership” of the lands allegedly encroached upon by the Judge. However, the satellite imagery is expected to bring out all the land features, sources said.

The sources denied reports that the Thiruvallur District Collector had sent another report more recently, backtracking on his  two earlier reports on the total extent of ‘poromboke’ lands encroached upon by the Judge. “That is very unlikely and the Collector did not even meet the SoI field staff after the preliminary hearing in Chennai,” sources said.

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