Madikeri: The Karnataka Forest Department has rejected the appeal by Daisy Jacob, wife of former Kerala Director General of Police (DGP) Jacob Thomas, demanding the cancellation of proceedings initiated by Madikeri Assistant Conservator of Forests (ACF).
The ACF had issued an order asking her to vacate 151.03 acres in Madikeri, which is part of a reserve forest (Pattighat range at Kopatti village) near Bhagamandala in Kodagu district. As per Thomas’ property statement submitted to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on January 1, 2017, the land was purchased in Daisy’s name in 1990 when the land value was Rs. 15 lakh. The present value is estimated at Rs. 18.12 crore.
Also, the property, used for horticulture, generates revenue of Rs. 35 lakh annually. The latest order issued by Kodagu Chief Conservator of Forests Manoj Kumar on July 7, has asked Daisy Jacob to vacate the forest land before Aug. 7.
It may be recalled here that Manoj Kumar has now been transferred as Chief Conservator of Forests, Project Elephant, Bengaluru.
In his order issued in November last year, Madikeri ACF Ranganath gave a month’s time to Daisy Jacob to prove her claim on the land, which she has owned since 1991.
The incident came to light after a forest survey conducted by the Forest Department revealed that the 151 acres was part of the reserve forest since 1901. The survey was carried out as per the direction of the High Court in 2003.
The ACF’s eviction order was issued under Section 64A of the Karnataka Forests Act, 1963 as it has been notified as reserve forest in 1904 itself. The order had said that if there was any grievance for the title holder, she could appeal before the Chief Conservator of Forests, Kodagu Circle in Madikeri within 30 days from the issue of the order.
Following this, Daisy had appealed before the CCF challenging the ACF’s order. The issue went through multiple legal processes before the Forest Department finally concluded that the title holder (Daisy) had encroached on forest land.
The legal battle regarding the ownership of the land began in September 1999, with the issue being examined by the Karnataka High Court.
Daisy Jacob, however, maintained that she had purchased the land from Hanuman Tobacco Company and has all the necessary documents to prove her ownership, including sale deeds.