Sunday, July 6, 2008

There are more dangerous people within spiritual empires Sunday 6 July, 2008

The famous House Grabbing case involving Aurobindo Ashram is listed before Supreme Court and likely to be taken up on July 11th of 2008. India’s first Finance Minister and Constituent Assembly Member R.K.Shanmugam Chettiar’s heir Mr. R.K. Selvarajan Chettiar owns three properties, known as Ragavan House, Columbani House and Kothandapani Godown. These properties were rented out to Aurobindo Ashram for past so many years. Suddenly a conspiracy was hatched to forge a gift deed of these properties in favour of Mr. R.K. Selvarajan Chettiar’s son Murugavel, and from him the Aurobindo Ashram Trust headed by Mr. Manoj Das Gupta bought these properties, but in order to fool the owner, continued to pay the rent. Mr. R.K. Selvarajan Chettiar came to know of this cheating and lodged a complaint with the Pondicherry Police, which refused to register the case, as usual. Mr. R.K. Selvarajan Chettiar approached the High Court of Madras which issued orders to register the case, thereafter an FIR was filed on The Managing Trustee of Aurobindo Ashram Trust Mr. Manoj Das Gupta, among others.

Mr. Manoj Das Gupta obtained anticipatory bail in this case. In an interview to SUNTV by 2003 end, I had openly told about this anticipatory bail. Had he been a Minister hue and cry seeking his resignation would have erupted, but being a Trustee of an Ashram, which had been suspending anyone who murmurs within using denial of food as weapon, for which few who dared to open their mouth are climbing the stairs of various Courts.

The Police who filed the charge sheet later had conveniently omitted the Managing Trustee. The first accused, namely R.K.Selvarajan Chettiar’s son Murugavel had approached for relieving him in this case, which was turned down by local court and High Court. Suppressing the fact about criminal cases pending before local court, he had appealed in Supreme Court, the case is coming up on July 11th 2008. This House Grabbing case over years had been reported here in New Indian Express, Dinamalar, and SUN TV.

But at national level televisions or English and Hindi dailies, have yet to throw light on this case. We live in days when media acts as watch dogs of society. The role of media in taming dictatorial governments is past history during the times of Ramnath Goenka’s who fought emergency. Let present day journalists turn their eye on ashram. We from politics are scoundrels, because there is a saying that politics is the last resort of the scoundrel. But there are more dangerous people within spiritual empires; they too deserve the same media expose, where we politicians are brought to our knees before the ultimate masters in a democracy, the people of India.

Case Status PENDING Status of: Special Leave Petition (Civil) 2223 Of 2007
Listed 3 times earlier Next Date of listing is: 11/07/2008

Let nation’s eye turn towards Supreme Court on July 11th 2008.

N. Nandhivarman General Secretary Dravida Peravai.

I was assigned with the Ashram’s legal work as in-house lawyer from about January 1998. I was attending to Ashram’s legal matters usually along with senior counsels Sri R. Padmanabhan and Sri C. S. Narasimhan. Approximately during September-November 1999, Manoj Das Gupta Ashram Trustee, Purushotham Iyengar and Matri Prasad who are like secretaries to the Trustees (actually there is no designation or hierarchy in the Ashram as such except for administrative responsibility as a departmental head or a Trustee) approached me and informed me that we have to meet Harikant C. Patel the then Managing Trustee with regard to some purchase of properties. I went along with them to Harikant C. Patel who was in the Ashram Nursing Home in the beach road due to hip-bone fracture. Harikant started the meeting and told us that there is one building known as ‘Ragavan House’ on the Junction of St. Louis Street and St. Gilles Street he said it is a place where Sri Aurobindo lived and Ashram has been enjoying the property as a tenant for the last about 30 years. That the Ashram now desires to purchase the house. Purushotham Iyengar mentioned that the house owner one Mr. Selvarajan is not willing to sell the house since so many years and asked me as to how to go about it. I told them first to approach Mr. Selvarajan and explain the importance attached to the Ashram for the house and request him once again and try and if he is willing then the Ashram Trustees will place it in their Board meeting and pass necessary resolutions and thereafter we can observe the necessary legal formalities. Agreeing with that proposal all of us had dispersed. Meeting lasted for about 15 minutes. After about 3 or 4 weeks again Manoj DG, Puru and Matri came with a person and introduced me that he is Mr. Murugavel and he is the son of Mr. Selvarajan and mentioned about the purchase of properties. They requested me to join them to meet Harikant Patel. We went to HCP’s house in Calve Suproyachetty Street. I went along with them. Manoj informed that despite their sincere efforts Mr. Selvarjan is not willing to sell the house. Then Mr. Murugavel told us that he would also persuade his father to sell the house somehow or the other and mentioned that he needs about 4 or 5 days time. I mentioned that if his father agrees then we can follow up with the necessary legal formalities. Meeting lasted for about 5 or 10 minutes. Then after about a weekday later Puru and Matri came to me along with Murugavel and took me to Harikant’s house. At that time Manoj and HCP were already there. They were waiting for us. In the meeting Murugavel told us that he is finding very difficult to convince his father. He told that he and Matri Prasad met the concerned Joint Sub Registrar and discussed with him. He said that Joint Sub Registrar gave the idea that he would register the settlement deeds in his favour if he or Matri or any other person can sign like his father (RKS) and arranges some amount for him and that he would dispense with the presence of Selvarajan and also the thumb impression and thereafter he could sell it to the Ashram. He told Murugavel to get the Gift Settlement deed ready. Hearing this immediately I rejected the proposal and gently explained to Murugavel that we in the Ashram cannot do this type of activities. Murugavel told us that he would take care of all that himself and it is not difficult. Manoj told me ‘What type of lawyer you are?’ He told that Ashram should somehow or the other buy that house because it is a place where Sri Aurobindo lived. Puru told us that the means is not very important that is to say that how we purchase is not very important but our concern should be focused for the end. HCP also stressed the importance attached to the house and told me to co-operate. I totally opposed with this proposal and discouraged all of them and told them that being in the Ashram we should not indulge in this type of back door methods. Then Manoj and Harikant stated that if you do not agree then we will look into that. You can attend to the other matters. Thereafter I was kept in dark as to what happened. I came to know for the 1st time from Ashram dispensary that something about the house grabbing column had appeared in the Indian Express and showed me. I was shocked. I heard that some news item and interviews also was broadcast regarding this house grabbing. I asked Harikant C. Patel regarding the damaging news items in papers and in TV. He told me everything is alright and the reports are all false. He said they purchased the property properly and nothing to worry about it. I asked them to show me the documents for which he told me that they are taking care of it and that I need not worry about it. There after many other disciplinary matters and Ashram Inmates’ Association matters they messed it up. I could not tolerate the attitude of the Trustees for long because they were always suppressing the information. Therefore I withdrew (resigned) from Ashram’s legal work. In my withdrawal letter I wrote specifically that they kept me and our counsels Mr. Padmanabhan and Narasimhan in the dark which resulted in lot of damage to the reputation of the Ashram. Ashram Trustees never replied to my letter.



In the matter of :

S. Murugavel … Petitioner
R.K.Selvarajan & Anr. …Respondents


1. I, R.K.Selvarajan, s/o. Late V.R.Kothandapani Chattiar, aged about 83 years, residing at 238, Cuddalore Road, Mudaliarpet, Pondicherry 605 004, do hereby solemnly affirm and say as under:
1. That I am the plaintiff and this SLP is arising of the Suit filed by me, O.S. No. 298 of 2001, R.K. Selvarajan –vs- Managing Trustee, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry and S. Murugavel.
2. A preliminary issue was raised by the Defendant no.2 who is the SLP petitioner here w.r.t. the court fees, being the preliminary issue and insisted for to be adjudicated upon first, thus by filing an application u/s 11(2) of the Pondicherry Court Fees and Suit Valuation Act, 1972, ( hereinafter, the Act) r/w Order 14 Rule 2 CPC.
3. It is pertinent to mention that the principal defendant being defendant no.1 (who is respondent no.2 here) did not raise any such issue in the court below, nothing was mentioned in the W/S at all w.r.t. such alleged preliminary issue of Court Fees.
4. The cardinal question is whether the court fees to be paid in the suit u/s 25(d) of the Act or u/s 40 of the Act.

1 comment:

  1. I would like to make something clear to the readers about the posted news here. Sri.R.K.Selvarajan Chettiyar is not the son or heir of Late Sri R.K.Shanmugam Chettiyar, the first finance minister of free India. They both belong to the same caste and are also relatives.