A scam spanning more than two decades and worth more than hundreds of crores has been unearthed in Tamil Nadu. As per the report by The Times of India, a few officers flagged the scam back in 2007 to the Crime Branch of CID but no action was taken.
The revenue department of the state issued illegal patta (allottment of government land) worth several hundred crores in 46 villages in Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, Pudukkottai and Tiruvannamalai. Assistant Settlement Officers (ASO) from Tiruvannamalai collected fictitious petitions, prepared office copies and simultaneously granted the illegal pattas to many people twenty years ago. Some of the allocation documents does not have even the official seal on it.
In 2007, Rameshram Mishra, the commissioner of land administration, flagged this to CB-CID but no investigation happened. Later this land was acquired by the National Highway Authority of India at the spending of more than 100 crore rupees. The ongoing investigation found that the majority of this land belonged to the government itself.
Long story short, the revenue officials of the state collaborated with the corrupt elements with political linkages and awarded patta for the government land to them because they knew that NHAI is about to acquire this land for highways. When NHAI acquired this land, these corrupt elements with political linkages got crores of rupees, some of which must have gone to revenue department officials.
Because these people have political linkages, the investigation agency did not pick the case when the issue was flagged in 2007. Now an investigation is happening which has revealed that NHAI has to spend hundreds of crore rupees for the government land, and the money went to private individuals.
The politicians from Tamil Nadu are among the most corrupt ones. The leaders of two major parties – AIADMK and DMK – have been involved in rampant corruption for decades with one party’s CM putting the leader of the other in jail whenever they come to power.
The current regime of DMK has people like A Raja, currently deputy general secretary of the party and Member of Parliament from Nilgris constituency as prominent leaders.
A Raja was the cabinet minister for Communication and Information Technology from May 2007. During that time, he was involved in the 2G Spectrum case, which has been considered the largest political corruption case in modern Indian history, amounting to around ₹1,766.45 billion of lost income for the Government of India.
A Raja was accused of giving licenses to telecom operators at throwaway prices without a free and fair bidding process, in exchange for kickbacks. Although the political opposition was demanding his resignation over the 2G spectrum case, Raja initially refused to resign, stating his innocence. He eventually resigned on 14 November 2010.
The CBI and Enforcement Directorate estimate that Raja could have made as much as Rs 30 billion from the alleged bribes. The CBI had also alleged that Rs. 200-crore bribe paid by a telecom operator to A Raja was deposited in a TV channel in Chennai that is owned in part by Kanimozhi, the daughter of DMK chief M Karunanidhi. Raja and R.K. Chandolia are also heard in conversation with Nira Radia in the released Radia tapes. He was convicted by the Supreme Court and was sentenced for the same.
With DMK in power in the state, one can only imagine the scale of corruption that would happen in the next few years. If Tamil Nadu wants good governance and a corruption-free government, they must come out of the vicious cycle of DMK and AIADMK.