Varsity land scam: Probe against Muslim League leaders

published on October 11, 2012

The Special Vigilance Court in Thrissur, Kerala on Thursday ordered a Vigilance probe against the top Muslim League leadership and its two Ministers over a land scam in Calicut University just when the party was facing allegations that it was hijacking the State administration using its crucial status in the ruling coalition and promoting and protecting religious extremists.

Special Vigilance Judge V Bhaskaran ordered Vigilance probe against Panakkad Hyderali Shihab Thangal, State president of the Muslim League, Education Minister PK Abdu Rabb and Social Welfare Minister MK Muneer in a case pertaining to the aborted allotment of land belonging to Calicut University to outfits headed by Muslim League leaders.

Probe has also been ordered against Calicut University vice-chancellor Abdul Salam, a nominee of the Muslim League, under whom the decision to transfer over 40 acres land from the campus to three outfits headed by party leaders was taken. The DySP of Vigilance, Malappuram will be in charge of the probe and the probe report has to be submitted to the court within three months.

The judge ordered the investigation while accepting three different petitions filed by former university registrar TK Narayanan seeking probe into allotments of university land to three different outfits headed by League leaders. The university had decided to allot the lands but the decision was revoked following Government intervention after the move triggered a scandal.

The petitions filed by Narayanan related to the allotments of ten acres of university land to Grace Education Trust headed by Hyderali Shihab Thangal and three acres of land on the side of National Highway 17 to an outfit looked after by K Kunhali, a relative of Industries Minister PK Kunhalikutty for the construction of a badminton court.

The third petition related to the allotment of 30 acres of university land to the Kozhikode Olympic Association in which PA Hamzah, a close relative of Social Welfare Minister MK Muneer, was an office-bearer. The Calicut University is situated in Muslim-majority Malappuram district, the strongest bastion of the Muslim League in the entire State.

The petitioner pointed out that there were irregularities in the decision to allot land to private institutions headed by functionaries of a powerful ruling party or their relatives. Varsity land could not be handed over to any entity without special order. He also said that the decision to hand over the land to the three outfits without citing any reason.

Many affairs related to Calicut University had become controversial ever since Muslim League’s Abdu Rabb took over as Education Minister. “The court order has added credence to the allegations being raised against the University of Calicut in recent times,” said Marxist MLA KT Jaleel, a former Muslim League functionary.

The order of the Special Vigilance Court has embarrassed the Muslim League as it has come at a time when the certain Hindu community outfits, smaller constituents of the ruling UDF and even a section in the Congress itself were alleging that it had grown arrogant due to the upper hand it was enjoying in the Government though Congress was the ruling coalition’s leader.

Muslim League’s Public Works Minister VK Ibrahim Kunju had last weekend gone to the extent of declaring that nothing undesirable to his party could happen in Kerala and that “We are the people ruling the State, we are the people keeping the Government going and we are the Karyakartas,” enraging the party’s foes in the ruling coalition and outside.

However, the Muslim League leadership tried to play down the Vigilance court’s order saying that there was nothing unusual about it. “It is normal for a court to order a probe when a petition for such an order is accepted. Nobody in Kerala would say that a leader like Hyderali Thangal would engage in a corrupt land deal,” claimed Muslim League MLA Abdurahman Randathani.

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