M.NIRMAL KUMAR,J. -
(1.) The petitioner, who apprehends arrest at the hands of the respondent police for offence under Sections 120B, 477A, 420 and 34 of IPC in Crime No.12 of 2020, seeks anticipatory bail.
(2.) (I)The gist of the case is that the Revenue Divisional Officer, Authorized Officer for Land Reforms, Tambaram Revenue Division, Chengalpet has lodged a complaint 04.08.2020 against A1-A.Balasubramani the then Joint Commissioner (Land Reforms), Villupuram, A2- A.Palaniammal the then Assistant Commissioner (Land Reforms), Villupuram and A3/the petitioner the then Revenue Divisional Officer, Authorized Officer for Land Reforms, Chengalpet. As per the complaint, the alleged occurrence had taken place during the period from 26.10.2008 to 05.07.2013.
(ii)A vast extent of lands comprised in several survey numbers situated at Thazhambur Village, Vandalur Taluk (erstwhile Tiruporur Taluk), Chengalpet District were settled as Anadheenam lands under the Tamil Nadu Estate (Abolition and Conversion to Ryaatwari) Act, 1948. Further, the Land Reforms Act, Rules and Regulations do not confer any powers on the Joint Commissioner (Land Reforms) Villupuram, the Assistant Commissioner (Land Reforms) Villupuram or the Revenue Divisional Officer, Chengalpet as Authorized Officer (Land Reforms) for consequent granting of pattas for these lands to private individual. The Tamil Nadu Estate (Abolition and Conversion to Ryaatwari) Act, 1948, does not have any provision for the conversion of these Anadheenam Lands, which are Government Poramboke Lands as Ryaatwari lands (Private lands) as of now.
(iii)While that being so, A1-the then Joint Commissioner (Land Reforms), Villupuram, vide his proceedings No.A1/1463/2008, dated 23.10.2008 and proceedings No.A1/52/2009, dated 17.08.2009, 16.11.2009 and 18.02.2010 assigned certain Anadheenam lands in favour of individual persons. A1-the then Joint Commissioner (Land Reforms), Villupuram by way of proceedings No.B3/4151, 4153, 4154 and 4218/2018, dated 02.11.2018 and B3/4261, 4262/2018, dated 08.11.2018 has assigned certain Anadheenam Lands in favour of certain individuals and several others. Further, the Assistant Commissioner (Land Reforms), Villupuram has inspected the site on 28.06.2013, verified the connected revenue records in the name of the "Land Reforms Surplus" and passed order in Ref.No.A1/1462/2008, dated 18.07.2013. The Government, by G.O.Ms.No.255, Revenue LR(2), dated 10.07.2015, abolished the Land Reforms Office, Villupuram. Thereafter, the concerned Revenue Divisional Officers were empowered and appointed as Assigning Authority in the land reforms. In this case, the petitioner had confirmed the assignment of 18 acres of land out of 41 acres which were assigned by the Assistant Commissioner (Land Reforms) to six persons of 3 acres each and they are Rathinaraj, Pramodikumar, Vasanthakumar, Lakshminarayan, Chandraprakash and Kannan. Thus the petitioner caused huge loss of revenue to the Government property in conspiracy with the other accused. Hence, the above complaint came to be lodged.
(3.) The learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that the petitioner worked as Revenue Divisional Officer, Chengalpet during the period from May 2018 to May 2019 and carried on his duties and responsibilities diligently. He further submitted that the petitioner has not assigned any land to individual persons. Prior to the petitioner joining the post, the Joint Commissioner (Land Reforms), Villupuram and the Assistant Commissioner (Land Reforms), Villupuram had issued proceedings and assigned lands to various persons. The petitioner was not involved any identification, verification, enquiry before assigning of these lands and he was not aware of these lands classified as Anadheenam lands. Prior to the petitioner joining the said post, the Assistant Commissioner (Land Reforms), Villupuram by proceedings in Ref.No.A1/1462/2008, dated 18.07.2013 had assigned lands to the concerned persons. Since as per G.O.Ms.No.255, Revenue LR(2), dated 10.07.2015, the office of the land reforms was abolished and the Revenue Divisional Officers were empowered to act as Assigning Authority. The computer patta and the revenue records were in favour of the allotees and the petitioner had called for the report from the concerned Tahsildar, Village Assistant and also called for the files from the Collectorate. After verification of all these facts, the petitioner issued orders, in which, he had referred the earlier orders passed by the Assistant Commissioner (Land Reforms), Villupuram and the communication received from the District Revenue Officer. The petitioner had only obeyed the order of his superior. In the complaint of the defacto complainant, it has been mentioned that the petitioner with a malafide intention had given effect to the order of the land reforms.;