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24 Oct 2021, Edition - 2294, Sunday

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Coimbatore

EXCLUSIVE: RTI findings: Cosmopolitan Club land issue gets murkier

Covai Post Network

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It was only a fortnight ago that an FIR had been registered on the office bearers and executive committee members of the Cosmopolitan Club who had held office in 2011. This was based on a complaint filed by a club member R.V. Sudarshan that the office bearers had allegedly forged land documents to construct a guest house inside the club.

Now more information has surfaced to add to the discrepancy. Documents obtained through RTI Act from the Coimbatore Corporation and now in possession of Covai Post prove to be a bundle of contradictions. It points to the attempted cover-up that the then office bearers of the club had falsified documents to secure approval for its proposal to build the guest house.

The RTI was filed by one N. Manoharan from Thondamuthur on July 2, 2013, seeking information on whether the Corporation had granted permission for the construction of the basement (cellar) for the guest house; details on the total area of construction as cited in the application, and the total area of the club.

As there was no reply from the Corporation, a reminder was sent on August 30, 2013. However, the RTI applicant received a reply dated August 5, 2013, on September 1, 2013.

The Information Officer (IO) and the then Assistant Commissioner of Central Zone, T.R. Ravi had stated that “there was no building permission given to construct the basement; the area proposed for the construction of the guest house was 60 cents and the total area of the club was 4.03 acres”. While the RTI had stated that the drawings and documents were attached, there were none.

So yet another letter was sent to the IO on September, 2, 2013, pointing out that the documents and the drawings were missing. Shockingly, the applicant then received the second letter from the Corporation dated September 5, 2013, on October 1, 2013, in total contradiction to the earlier one. It stated that “permission to construct the cellar was granted”. With reference to the documents and drawings sought, the letter stated that the Corporation advocate had to be consulted for the same as the applicant was a third party.

So Mr. Manoharan, sent a third RTI application on October 23, 2013, pointing out the contradictions in the first two letters regarding approval, and again sought the documents stating that he was moving the Court. Finally, after eight months, the Corporation, sent a letter dated June 18, 2014, stating that “no permission was granted for the construction of the cellar” along with the falsified drawing submitted by the then office bearers.

The document submitted showed the altered original scope of land (4.03 acres) so as to evade the 10 per cent Open Space Reservation (OSR) land to be handed over to the Government.

Securing Planning Permission on the basis that land was in two separate entities was incorrect as the land T. S. No. 1372 was a single entity and there was no sub-division.

Again, another portion of land as in T. S. No. 1366/2 that was shown by the club office-bearers as park, recreation space and open area, did not belong to the club and was clearly a road.

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