Chennai: The Madras High Court has ordered issue of notice to the state government on a PIL challenging auctioning of a prime property valued at several crores of rupees to private persons.
In his petition, Advocate S Tamilarasan contended that the property of 5.06 acres in Kumbakonam, which was owned by late philanthropist Raman Chettiyar, was vested with the Aranmanai Raman Chettiar Annadana Trust.
He contended that the present value of the land was Rs.100 crore. A Sub-Court in Kumbakonam had permitted sale of the land through public auction when the trust filed a plea in 2002 seeking to sell immovable properties.
The petitioner contended that in spite of the Supreme Court’s direction that all properties of Public trust should be sold or auctioned by fixing the reserve price, the property was sold by fixing an earnest deposit of Rs.15,000 only.
The petitioner submitted that 16 persons participated in the auction on April 19, 2003, and the trust chose one S Ravichandran as the successful bidder who had quoted Rs 1.81 crore for the property. He submitted that Ravichandran took nearly six months to pay the first instalment of Rs 25 lakh, and another five years to pay the remaining Rs 1.56 crore and claimed it was not a legally valid payment as per provisions of the Civil Procedure Code.
A case was filed against the sale but the Madurai bench of the High Court confirmed the sale and directed the buyer to pay interest for the five-year period instead of ordering forfeiture of the amount paid, he contended.
A Division Bench, comprising Justice Sathish K Agnihotri and Justice KK Sasidharan, ordered issue of notice to Government.