A cooperative society in Mala, Thrissur, sowed paddy on 25 acres of land on Sunday. The land had been taken back from RMZ Eco Infrastructure Ltd., a company run by Santhosh Madhavan, a self-proclaimed godman and rape convict who is currently in jail.
Nanma, a farmerâ€™s collective in Mala, sowed the land under the supervision of Kerala Agriculture Minister VS Sunil Kumar, who told media that cultivation will begin in all other lands that were acquired from people who had kept land illegally.
The minister also informed that the land will be included in the paddy cultivation scheme for the governmentâ€™s surplus land.
A controversy had erupted in 2014 after the Kerala government handed over 118 acres of surplus land in Paravur, Puthanvelikkara (Ernakulam), and Mala (Thrissur), to RMZ Eco World Infrastructure Ltd, a company owned by Santhosh Madhavan for setting up an IT project.
The CPI (M) had earlier alleged that the project had been denied permission by the previous LDF government in 2008, and had approached the UDF government in 2014 to get it sanctioned.
Following protests, the UDF government took back the land in the beginning. But in March 2016, the UDF government again tried to return it to RMZ company. Following this, even senior Congress leaders like VM Sudheeran, TN Prathapan and VD Satheesan raised objections.
CPI(M) also strongly protested the governmentâ€™s move, following which they withdrew their decision to give back land the next day.
Santhosh Madhavan was an accused in many cases and later he got convicted and sent to jail for 16 years in 2009 for raping two minor girls and video recording the act.
He was known as Swami Amrita Chaitanya, before his arrest.