Chennai: DMK chief M Karunanidhi on Sunday accused the government of giving away a land property in a prime location in the city to a horticultural society. Writing for party organ Murasoli, Karunanidhi traced a long history of how the successive DMK regimes had tried to take back the government land for public purpose used by the Agri-Horticultural Society on Cathedral Road close to the Anna flyover junction.
In 1989, when the government wanted to take the land, V Krishnamurthy, honorary secretary of the society, went to the High Court. However, his plea was dismissed. Soon, a Government Order was issued on August 5, 1989. The society challenged the action.
When the society’s plea was still pending, the AIADMK assumed power in 1991. Till 1996 no effort was made on the issue by the government. On June 19, 1998, the court stayed the take over order. The government preferred an appeal. On August 20, 1998, the court ordered status quo. In 2004, the AIADMK regime, however, withdrew the appeal. Though a GO was issued on March 3, 2006 placing the State land at the disposal of the society, it could not be implemented as the model code was promulgated for polls.
When the DMK was voted back to power in 1996, it pursued the issue again. An appeal was filed in the High Court yet again. On April 11, 2008, the HC set aside a 1998 judgment staying the land take over. Subsequently, the society went to the Supreme Court.
On November 13, 2009, it said that the government could use the land for the development of horticulture. The district collector took over the land from the society. In the first phase, Semmozhi Poonga was set up where Woodlands Drive-In stood (a sub-lessee of the society) before. To expand the park, a notice was sent on December 15, 2010 to the society to vacate the premises located opposite the Poonga. Again, Krishnamurthy went to the HC. It asked the government to give him an opportunity of being heard. But, he did not show up for the hearing before and after the 2011 polls.
After the AIADMK assumed power, he turned up before the district collector and submitted certain documents. “Succumbing to political influence, the collector ordered on August 22 that the land belonged to the society. The land records for the past 100 years testified that the land is owned by the State. In the court battles, it was never said that the land belonged to the society. The AIADMK has given it on a platter to Krishnamurthy. Only these people claim that they will be giving a graft-free administration,” Karunanidhi said sarcastically.