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: Madras High Court today directed the State Election Commission to produce the Statement of Declaration of assets made by elected councilors from the year 2006 to 2016 in Chennai. Justice N Kirubakaran gave the order on a petition by a resident of Injambakkam, praying for a direction to the authorities to conduct an enquiry into alleged evasion of property tax by a councilor The court directed the SEC to produce the records on V Annamalai, the sitting councillor, who the petitioner alleged amassed wealth after getting to the post. The court said since the councillor had already contested for the post and got elected in the 2011 local body polls, he should have filed a declaration with the State Election commission with regard to his properties. Further the councillor also filed a nomination as an independent for the councilor election on September 2016. "Hence the SEC is directed to produce the statement of Assets made by him at the time of filing nomination for the Municipal Corporation for the year 2011 and 2016. It is also further directed that the SEC produce the statement of declaration of assets made by the elected councilors from the year 2006 to 2016," the court said Petitioner, Pon.
Thangavelu submitted that due to rampant corruption and maladministration in the running of Chennai corporation, he had incurred a huge monetary loss in the December 2015 floods, which inundated his house. He had met the Mayor and Coporation Commissioner many times to impress upon them the need to prevent middlemen and councilors in the affairs of the Corporation, whose activities had hampered basic amenities he was entitled as a taxpayer. The stock answer was that the corporation has no proper revenue and local councilors were trying their best to provide good and quality service. He said his enquiries revealed Annamalai had 'misused' his official position and forced the authorities to assess tax at a very less amount for his nine properties at Injambakkam. So he sent a representation to the authorities, informing them about the illegal assessment of property,to cancel it,reassess the tax and recover the correct property tax from him. Justice Kirubakaran who perused the property tax details, said these showed all independent bungalows have been charged only meagre amounts of Rs 55 and Rs 110. "Though this court prima-facie would find fault with the officials, this Court has got every reason to believe that the officials would have been coerced to determine the lower tax amount. Hence the entire records with regard to the above properties are directed to be placed before this Court." He then adjourned the matter to December 2.
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