After HC stricture, Kerala govt attaches properties of 248 PFI workers
The recovery proceedings against those involved in the violence were initiated after the Kerala HC expressed displeasure over the government's delay in executing its order in connection with it
The state government on Monday informed the Kerala High Court that it has attached the properties of 248 banned Popular Front of India (PFI) workers as part of recovery proceedings in connection with the damage to public property, in violence, during a hartal called by the outfit last September.
The recovery proceedings against those involved in the violence were initiated after the Kerala High Court expressed displeasure over the government's delay in executing its order in connection with it.
In an action taken report filed before the High Court today, the Home Department informed that the most number of revenue recoveries were from Malappuram district -- 126 properties.
The state government also said there were disputes with regard to the attachment in Malappuram district and action will be taken to correct the same.
"The Revenue authorities have informed that there were some disputes in respect of properties attached, especially in Malappuram district. They have contended that they are not office bearers or do not have any relation with the Popular Front of India. Genuineness of these objections are being examined and necessary action will be taken in accordance with law," the government said.
As per the report, the Revenue Department has attached 23 properties in Palakkad district and 22 in Kozhikode. While 18 properties were attached from Thrissur district, 11 and eight properties were attached from Wayanad and Kannur districts respectively.
Six properties each were attached from Pathanamthitta, Idukki, Ernakulam and Kasaragod districts while five each were attached from Thiruvananthapuram, Alappuzha and Kottayam districts. Only one property was attached from Kollam district.
Meanwhile, a revenue recovery notice was reportedly affixed to the house of a deceased SDPI leader who was killed five months before the said hartal call in September 2022.
On Sunday, the Indian Union Muslim League, a key ally of the Congress-led opposition UDF in Kerala, had alleged that the properties of its "innocent workers" were attached by the state government as part of the recovery proceedings.
Accusing the government of "hunting the innocent workers of IUML" in the name of action against the PFI, senior party leader P K Kunhalikutty had alleged that it is being done to "save the real culprits involved in the violence" during the hartal.
The Revenue Department had on Friday initiated a state-wide drive attaching properties of arrested leaders of the PFI as part of the recovery proceedings in connection with the damage to public property, in the violence, during a hartal called by the organisation in September last.
The PFI leaders are accused in the case connected with the hartal called by the organisation against the nation-wide raids on PFI offices and arrest of its leaders following its ban.
The High Court had on January 18 directed the state government to complete the recovery and submit a district-wise report by January 23.
It had also said there was no need to issue notices prior to carrying out the recovery proceedings.
The court had expressed displeasure over the delay as the state government last month had assured to complete the recovery by January 15.
The government had on November 7, 2022 told the court that a loss of Rs 86 lakh was incurred due to the damage to property during the violence in the state-wide hartal.
The government had also submitted that a loss of Rs 16 lakh was suffered by private persons during the violence.
The state police have registered a total of 361 cases and arrested 2,674 people, it had said then.
Earlier, the High Court had asked the banned PFI and its ex-state general secretary Abdul Sathar to deposit Rs 5.2 crore with the Home Department towards damages estimated by the KSRTC and the state government in connection with the hartal-related violence, saying they must be held accountable for it.
Sathar, when he was the state general secretary of the outfit, had called for the hartal against the nation-wide raids and arrest of its leaders, and then allegedly absconded.
Hours after the PFI was banned, he had issued a statement saying the outfit had been disbanded in the wake of the Home Ministry's decision and subsequently, he was arrested.