ISRO land deal: Petition filed against DFO order

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Kochi, Sep 18 (UNI) Southern Field Ventures Private Limited Managing Director Xavi Mano Mathew today filed a writ petition before the Kerala High Court, challenging the notice issued by the Divisional Forest Officer, Thiruvananthapuram, in connection with the selling out of82 acres of land to the ISRO for setting up a space institute.

The case would come up for admission tomorrow.

The petitioner prayed for declaring the Kerala Forest (Vesting and Management of Ecologically Fragile Land) Ordinance, 2000, as ultra vires of the constitution.

The DFO had issued a notice on September 8 last, directing the company to vacate the estate within 30 days.

The petitioner contended that 707.23 acres of tea estate, known as Merchiston Estate, was with the company and the ordinance had excluded the area from its purview. He had purchased the estate from the Birla group in 2005.

The ISRO had entered into a deal with Mr Mathew for the transfer of about 120 acres of land for setting up the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST). In the first phase, 82 acres of land was sold out. However, the Kerala Forest Department had issued notice to the ISRO and Mr Mathew to vacate the place, terming it an Ecologically Fragile Land.


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