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The district administration has suspended Tahsildar M.K. Anbazhagan, who is presently on long leave, for allegedly authorising the illegal transfer of nearly 1.8 acre of land in Bibikulam area belonging to Meenakshi Amman Temple to a group of nine people.

“Our enquiry has indicated that Mr. Anbazhagan failed to discharge his duty. Even if someone had legitimate claim to the land, the Tahsildar should have analysed the claim and forwarded it to his higher-ups. He was not authorised to transfer the patta,” Collector K. Veera Raghava Rao told The Hindu.

The issue came to light in August when the patta transfer, made in late June this year, was brought to the notice of senior officials in the district administration.

Scrutiny of the records reportedly revealed that the land, donated to Meenakshi Amman temple in the 1930s by the Pudukottai Thondaiman family, could not be transferred or sold to anyone.

Following a complaint by the temple authorities, Madurai Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) G. Senthilkumari conducted an enquiry, based on which the patta transfer was cancelled and the land was returned to Meenakshi Amman Temple.

The Village Administrative Officer of Iluppaikudi, Arasan, who previously served as the VAO of Bibikulam, was suspended immediately by the RDO.

A memo was issued to Mr. Anbazhagan (who was serving as Madurai North Tahsildar) with recommendations to District Revenue Officer and Collector for disciplinary action.

Following enquiries by DRO and Collector, the decision to suspend Mr. Anbazhagan has been made.

The Collector, however, ruled out the need for filing a case with the police against the officials or the people to whom the land was transferred.

“Some persons have requested patta transfer by claiming that they were legal heirs of the property. Such a request per se is not illegal. However, the Tahsildar should have carefully scrutinised the records and made appropriate recommendation to senior officials, which he failed to do. There is no need for criminal proceedings,” he said.