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Cost of Justice in India

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COST OF JUSTICE IN INDIA

By Dr. A.M. Mathai

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COST OF JUSTICE IN INDIA

Dr. A.M. Mathai

 

Published by Dr. A.M. Mathai at Shakespir

 

Shakespir Edition, License Notes

This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This e-book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Shakespir.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

Copyright © 2017 Dr. A.M. Mathai

All rights reserved

 

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

BACKGROUND AND FIRST CONTACT

 

 

Introduction

 

THE FOLLOWING IS the true account of the experience of the author. It is written down so that the readers who live in India may not fall into the same or similar traps, in which the author fell, and it will make a curious reading material for those who live outside India. This is the true account of my struggle for getting basic justice through the court system in India and my never-ending struggle to get hold of my own house from my former servants and house keepers who became squatters in my house.

I was born and brought up in India near the town of Palai in Kerala State in India. After taking my M.Sc degree in Statistics, with first class, first rank and gold medal, I was appointed as Lecturer in Mathematics at St Thomas College Palai, University of Kerala, in 1959 and I taught there from 1959 to 1961. In 1961 I competed for a Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship on all-India basis, won a scholarship and went to Canada to the University of Toronto in Canada. In 1961-1962 I finished a Master’s Degree in Mathematics and by 1964 I finished a Ph.D in Mathematics and became an Assistant Professor at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. I became an Associate Professor, then a Full Professor, then a Senior Professor, then an Emeritus Professor at McGill University and took an early retirement in January 2000 with the hope of settling down in my house at Ernakulam, Kerala, India and spending the balance of my retired life peacefully in my own house with my family, even though there was no retirement age at McGill University.

 

 

Buying a building plot in Edappally, Ernakulam, Kerala State, India

 

I had the intention of spending my retired life in Kerala, India, in a calm and peaceful atmosphere. When our family properties were divided among the children I did not take my share because I wanted the two youngest brothers to have bigger landed properties. I decided to buy a building plot of my own later on. I bought a building plot in 1981 at Edappally, a suburb of the twin city of Cochin (Kochi) and Ernakulam, in Kerala, India. In December 1984 I started constructing a house on the plot that I owned. I had brought a building plan from Canada. It was about 6,000 sq. ft of built-in area. When the foundation was laid, it was found that on one side the courtyard would be too narrow and hence I bought an additional one-cent of land on that side in 1985. (One acre of land consists of 100 cents of land). By 1986 the house was completed. For cleaning the house, looking after the house during my absence from India, and to cook and clean and run errands for me while I am in India, I needed at least one trustworthy person or a couple or a small family of very trustworthy people to be brought in as servants and caretakers of my house. That is how I ended up bringing one Kudilan (not the real name) and his family consisting of his wife Kundi (not real name), his daughter Paanchaali (not real name) and his son Dushtan (not real name) to my newly built house at Edappally. As the reader can imagine, here starts my never-ending problems and finally the never-ending struggle through the court system in Kerala to get basic justice.

 

 

My contact with Kudilan

 

In the late 1940’s (1948, 1949) and early 1950’s (1950-1953) the construction of the buildings for Palai (Pala) St. Thomas College was going on. The College was officially established in 1950. Fund-raising activities were going on in late 1940’s and in early 1950’s. One of the most active persons in the fund-raising activity was one Rev. Fr Mecherikunnel. He was either the vicar at Palai church or the head or one of the chief persons of the fund-raising campaign. Kudilan was the personal servant (Valyekkaran) of Rev. Fr. Mecherikunnel. This Rev Father and Kudilan were going from house to house, raising funds for the College, in the form of ready cash, pledges, or farm produces such as coconuts, arecanuts (beetle nut), rubber, pepper, ginger etc whatever the parishioners cultivated. In those days we were parishioners of St George’s Church, Chittar, about three kilometers from Palai town on Palai-Ramapuram road. Rev. Fr Mecherikunnel and Kudilan came to all houses in the parishes around Palai, several times. These visits were the first occasions when I met Kudilan.

In March 1953 I had passed my SSLC (Secondary School Leaving Certificate) Examinations from St Thomas High School at Palai. Since my family were traditionally agriculturists, they had no desire of their children taking up Government jobs. In those days that was the only motivation for sending children for higher education, to colleges and universities. But due to pressure from all the neighbors and villagers, because I was the first one to obtain a first class in the SSLC Examination in that and all the nearby villages, my family decided to send me to college. In those days, higher education meant a cushy Government job at the end and one could practically retire with full salary, on the first day of the appointment itself because there was practically no way of compelling a government official to do any work or make him quit or to dismiss him.

Traditionally, agriculturists had an entirely different life style compared to city or town dwellers. Everyone in the household, including women and children, worked every day 365 days a year. The motto in agriculturist families was that if a child was old enough to lift a dried tree leaf then the child should be made to lift the leaf. Since we were economically in the middle-class we the children had to do all types of physical labor in cultivating cash crops such as rubber, pepper, coconut, ginger, turmeric etc as well as some food grains. Besides these, we also kept cattle and goats. We had to share the work in the morning before going to school and in the evening after coming back from school, on Saturday the full day, and Sunday was the holiday, which meant no hard physical labor but to take the goat, sheep and cattle out onto the hills so that the animals could have a nutritious herbal meal once a week

In those days, education was expensive also. All the students had to pay fees besides buying their own books, pens, pencils etc. Fund was always at a premium in the lower and middle class agriculturist families. Since the villagers and my family decided to send me to college my father asked me to go to the college on a work-free day, namely a Sunday, and inquire about the process of getting admitted to the college. In the villages everyone worked every day and hence my father assumed that in the college also everyone worked everyday and the officials must be around on Sundays also. On a Sunday, I walked the distance of nine kilometers one way to the college. To my dismay, I found that nobody in the college worked on Sundays, and I could not find anyone there. After searching around, finally I found a tall priest. He asked me why I was there on a Sunday. I told him that I came to inquire about getting admission to the college and Sunday was the only free day for me to come. He asked me about the details of my grades in the SSLC Examinations. I told him the details. He asked several times to make sure whether the figures were correct or not. I said that they were correct. Later I learnt that my grades were the school record until that time. The priest opened the office, wrote up an admission card and gave it me saying that I was admitted as serial number two and asked me to come back the next day and pay the fees because the clerks would not be present on Sundays. Later I learnt that the tall priest, that I met, was Rev. Fr Joseph Kureethadom, the Principal of St. Thomas College Palai at that time.

Before the priest gave me the admission card he asked me what my ambition was in going to college. In those days students had no guidance of any sort and no student had any profession in mind while studying for a degree or certificate because eventually the aim would be to obtain a government clerical job for which any group of study would be fine. I loved plants, trees, shrubs, birds and all types of animals. Hence I thought of taking biology for my higher studies. Also, I had seen that the local medical doctors had great respect in the society and hence I thought that biology also would give a chance to become a medical doctor. I told the priest that I wanted to become a medical doctor. He said that for doing that I had to be admitted to a Second Group (Biology Group), and Second Group was for second-rate students and I should take First Group (Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry), and he admitted me to the First Group, saying that was the right choice for me.

When the classes started, I found the same Kudilan as the peon/attender in the English Department and he was also the personal peon of the Principal and that the tall priest I met was the Principal. I learnt that Kudilan was appointed as peon/attender in 1950 itself when the college opened, as a reward for being the servant (Valyekkaran) of the main fund-raiser Rev. Fr Mecherikunnel. The Principal had great hope in me that I would bring a University Rank to the College in the First Science or the Intermediate Examination (now called the Pre-Degree Examination). He called me to his office on the first day of the classes and introduced Kudilan to me saying that if I needed any help such as buying things for me or bringing dinking water to me or any such necessity, then I could ask Kudilan, and that Kudilan was instructed to do those things for me. He also said that Kudilan was the most trusted and loyal peon in the College. Thus, from day one at the College, Kudilan was acting as a trusted, loyal personal peon for me also. The Principal used to inquire during the academic sessions about my progress in the various courses, whether I had difficulty in any of the courses and whether Kudilan was looking after me properly. I had no difficulty in any course and Kudilan was very loyal and helpful.

In 1953-1955 I finished my “Intermediate” and in 1955-1957 I finished my B.Sc in Mathematics. During all these years Kudilan was acting as a personal peon for me. He always used to ask for small amounts as kaivaypa. Kaivaypa means a type of loan or borrowing money but it is understood that if the borrower is poor then he need not return the amount. I gathered that Kudilan used to take kaivaypa from all the faculty and students with whom he was familiar. In those days the amount used to be less than a rupee each time. Neither I asked for these amounts back nor he returned the amounts to me on his own. His habit of asking for loose change (chillara) continued until I finished my B.Sc in 1957.

With a B.Sc degree, I could teach in a local High School or get a government job and in fact a teaching position was lined up for me in the nearby High School at Ramapuram. Due to the persuasion of Principal Kureethadom I was sent to Trivandrum (now Thiruvanathapuram) to take my M.Sc degree so that I could teach in a College. I finished my M.Sc in Statistics (Statistics was more prestigious than Mathematics in those days) in 1959, securing the only first class, first rank and the gold medal from the University of Kerala. Then Professor Aleyamma George, the Head of the University Department of Statistics at that time, offered me a position in that Department itself at a salary of Rs 250/- (two hundred and fifty) per month, double of what I would get in a private or grant-in-aid college. But Principal Kureethadom was waiting for me and for my classmate at Trivandrum Mr Ignatius, so that the quorum of the minimum number of three M.Sc degree-holders would be met at St Thomas College Palai to start an M.Sc course at Palai. There was only one M.Sc degree-holder in Statistics at the College at that time. Since Principal Kureethadom wanted me at Palai I decided to forgo the salary of Rs 250/- per month plus allowances and a prestigious university cum government job and took up the job at St Thomas College Palai, a private grant-in-aid college, at Rs 125/- per month consolidated salary.

 

 

Teaching career at St Thomas College Palai

 

When I started to teach at St. Thomas College Palai in 1959, teaching the first batch of M.Sc Statistics students, Kudilan was the peon in my own Department of Mathematics there. Thus, he was my own departmental peon for two years from 1959-1961 until I left for Canada. By this time, Kudilan had earned my full trust, and I thought that he was the most trustworthy and loyal peon in the Department and personal peon for me and he showed great respect and loyalty to me. I found that he obeyed and fulfilled the instructions given to him by the Principal in 1953 when I came into the College as a student. As a peon, Kudilan’s duties were the following: Clean the blackboard, place clean duster and chalk in the classroom, bring the attendance register to the classroom and collect it back after the class roll call was over, fill up the earthen jar (kooja) with cold water for drinking, clean the glasses for drinking water, bring tea and coffee from the College Canteen as per our request and run small errands for the faculty members. When other peons went to bring water in the kooja, most of them would not bother to empty out the old water and wash and clean the kooja before filling with fresh water. But Kudilan would wash the kooja, pour out the old water and fill with fresh water. He would make sure that the kooja was kept covered all the time. He would also wash the glasses for bringing in tea and coffee from the Canteen and he would immediately wash the empty glasses after drinking tea or coffee. Another thing was that he was known in the College as a chronic bachelor and it was said that he did not like women at all. There were unverified stories about his escapades with another peon there.

When I started teaching, I decided to rent a place near the College and stay near the College rather than walk home every day because the distance one way was about nine kilometers. Three of us, one faculty member from Botany, one from Zoology and myself rented a house near to the College. It was actually rented by the person from Botany for himself and his family. But his family did not want to move from their family home and hence he decided to take two of us bachelors to share his rented house. We used to share all the stories and rumors that we heard at the College and each one had heard a lot of stories about peon Kudilan. Everyone knew Kudilan because he was also the personal peon of the Principal. One story was about how Kudilan lost his share of the family inheritance. Apparently he had inherited about 85 cents of land (0.85 acre) from his parents. The story had many juicy details, which cannot be put in print here. The story was that he willingly donated his share of inheritance to the wife of his elder brother for her two children. The story about this episode was likely to be true because after they moved into my house, during one of their regular family fights, Kudilan’s wife Kundi blurted out more of the juicy part of the story than what we heard at the College. Either Kudilan himself had told her when they were in happy trusting moods or she heard the story from someone else as we had heard in 1959-1961 period.

Another story was that after collecting Kudilan’s share of the family inheritance his brother’s wife started to be cold to Kudilan. In great disappointment, Kudilan decided to leave the family house and join the Army. In those days only two types of people joined the army. One type who wanted to escape from family problems and the other type who were extremely poor and could not find any other job of any type. Since he was uneducated, he could not get into the Army as a regular soldier but instead he got a peon’s job in the Army and he was stationed in Nagercoil area in the present Tamil Nadu (Nagercoil was part of Kerala or old Travancore kingdom in those days). In fact he did not go to any frontline fights or to any regular army camp other than to be a peon in an army establishment in Nagercoil area. Either he was relieved or he left the army camp after the Second World War, and returned to Palai and became the servant (Valyekkaran) of Rev. Fr. Mecherikunnel. Later, when the College was established in 1950 he became a peon at the College.

In the College, Kudilan used to talk to other peons about his adventures in the army claiming that he was an army engineer, he was driving heavy trucks (apparently he did not know driving at all), he was a good mechanic and so on, to the extent that he even claimed to have received a medal from the Prime Minister of India for his bravery in the army. Later, when his wife retold about the army adventures, the story was that Kudilan had received a medal of honor from Prime Minister Indira Gandhi herself in late 1940’s. [In those days Indira Gandhi was not the Prime Minister of India, and she was probably in her diapers].

Peon’s salary was very poor in 1950’s and 1960’s. Even the Lecturers were only drawing a consolidated salary and allowances of Rs 125/- per month. Added to this, Kudilan had two bad habits. He used to smoke beedi (a handmade village cigar) and he used to drink tea from teashops, apart from whatever was supplied to him from the College priests’ mess. After spending money for beedis and at the teashops, he used to run out of funds very frequently. That was the main reason that he had to borrow from others as kaivaypa always.

 

 

Commonwealth Scholarship

 

In 1961 I got a Commonwealth Scholarship and left for Canada. By 1964 I had finished my studies, as mentioned earlier, and took up a position at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. After I left for Canada in 1961 I came back to India only in August 1964 and met Principal Kureethadom. I had a service contract to teach an additional two years at St Thomas College Palai. The Principal was kind enough to relieve me of my obligation to teach the additional two years so that I could pursue a research career at McGill University. He wanted me to come back to the College as regularly as possible and give lectures to the post-graduate students at the College whenever I came to India. I fulfilled this promise. I used to come to the College every year, starting from 1966 and I used to spend at least one month in India every year. I used to give lectures at St Thomas College Palai every year from 1966 until the 1980’s. In the 1980’s whenever I came to the College, the College was closed due to the so-called “students’ strike” or “teachers’ strike”. Students and teachers embroiled the College in unrest and political activities in the 1980’s.

When I came to the College in August 1964 the main piece of juicy story among the faculty members was about the chronic bachelor Kudilan and about his marriage. In 1963, when he was about 45 years of age, he apparently married a girl 25 years younger to him. I was told that Professor Andrews Kottiri from Ramapuram arranged the marriage. Professor Kottiri had taught me English when I was a student at the College. This girl (Kundi) or her mother was a servant at Kottiri house. In any case her family must have been dirt-poor, otherwise no parents would marry their daughter off to a peon and that too 25 years older than the girl. Another part of the story was that the girl got pregnant and Kudilan beat her all over her body claiming that the child was not his. Thus Kudilan’s first child Paanchaali was born in 1964, possibly by October 1964.

Whenever I visited the College, Kudilan would come, without failure, and he would request for financial help. I used to give him money whenever he requested for help. After my visit in August 1964, my next visit was in 1966. At that time I was told that a son was also born to Kudilan by the end of 1965. Let us call him Dushtan (not his real name). Again the story was that Kudilan himself claimed that he did not father the second child. I did not care about who fathered the child or children. Kudilan still behaved with great respect and loyalty. From 1966 onwards he used to say that he had the additional burden of looking after two children also, implying that two children were thrust upon him by someone else. Either his story was correct or he was making up that type of a story to get sympathy from others so that others would give him more money whenever he asked for kaivaypa. Others should think that the old man was burdened with someone else’s two kids also when his income was not sufficient even to take care of himself. I felt compassion and sympathy for him and I used to give him Rs 10 to Rs 100, whatever I could spare at that time, each time when he came to me for help from 1966 onwards. In those days Rs 10 used to be a very big amount.

 

 

Kudilan’s retirement

 

In 1980 Kudilan retired from the College as peon at the age of 60. His consolidated salary and allowances just before retirement was Rs 521/-(five hundred and twenty one rupees) per month (Exhibit A47 ; the exhibits mentioned are the exhibits or supporting original documents filed and marked in the eviction case O.S.No.103/2000 in the Sub Court at Ernakulam, Kerala, India) and his pension after retirement was Rs 202/- per month ( Exhibit B1 ). He had a wife and two children to feed by then. He had absolutely no other source of income and he had no savings either. He was renting a small coconut storage place. In the countryside, when the land was cultivated with coconut trees there used to be a house built on pillars for storing coconuts. Sometimes the bottom part was enclosed in and rented out to very poor people at nominal rent with the understanding that they would look after the coconut garden also and that the fallen coconuts would be picked up and saved for the owner. Kudilan was renting such a place for Rs 50/- per month near the College. Even after retirement he used to hang around the College by running errands for the priests. Whenever I visited the College, even after his retirement, he used to be seen at the College and he used to come invariably and requested for financial help.

Then either in December 1982 or in early January 1983 Kudilan came to my tharavad house (ancestral family home) at Chakkampuzha near Palai when I was at home. He had been visiting my cousin’s place at Chakkampusha regularly and receiving help from him. My cousin, Professor M. Mathai, was Senior Lecturer of Malayalam (local language in Kerala) at St Thomas College Palai and Kudilan’s close friend and co-peon Mathen was the peon in the Department of Malayalam. Kudilan told me that his daughter Paanchali had already finished High School and his son Dushtan was going to finish High School in that March and he had no way of educating his children. He wished to send them for college education.

He already knew that I was looking after the educational expenses of many poor students by then. He knew that I ran a poor students’ lunch program at the College at the request of Rev. Fr Kureethadom, the Principal. Kudilan was the one buying the lunch coupons for the poor students etc at that time. Hence he knew that if he approached me he was sure to get help in sending his children to college. He told me that his pension was only Rs 202/- per month, out of which he had to give Rs 50/- as rent for the hut and the balance was not sufficient even to buy food. He told me that he was also doing some odd jobs of washing drinking glasses at a nearby arrack (country liquor) shop. He told me that he owed several months’ rent in arrears to the landlord and that whatever gold was there with his wife Kundi was already pawned for some money and that he was in a very pitiable condition (I did not know these details at that time). I gave him some cash that I could spare at the moment and told him that I would send a cheque from Canada as soon as I returned, which would be sufficient to buy clothes, books and food for his children as well as for the college fees to be paid. Since he did not know how to write, he wanted me to send the cheque and letters to his daughter Paanchaali and gave me her name, and the address to their hut. He requested me to write to her every week and that it was very prestigious for the children to receive letters from abroad so that they could show them around to their classmates. I had not seen his children by then. I did not know the names of his children either. That was the first time I was told that his daughter was named Paanchaali (not real name) and his son was named Dushtan (not real name) and that they were about the ages of 19 and 18 respectively at that time.

With the money I sent, Paanchaali was admitted to Kottaram College, Palai, and Dushtan was admitted to St Thomas College Palai. In fact, Dushtan was a classmate of my cousin Professor M. Mathai’s son Vincent Mathew (later Dr Vincent Mathew of the Department of Physics at St Thomas College Palai). In fact, my cousin had bought and donated a Dictionary to Dushtan. He had also bought some books, pen, pencil etc for Dushtan as per the request from Kudilan.

Later in the year 2000, when the Kudilan family refused to move out from my house at Edappally, my cousin told me that Kudilan, when he was peon at the College, before retirement, used to come to Chakkampuzha and collect coconut, jack fruit and other edible items from my cousin’s place, free of charge. Dushtan also used to come and collect these items regularly. Once, Kudilan told my cousin that his children were fond of eating coconut and he had no money to buy coconuts, my cousin brought husked coconuts from home in his lunch bag and gave to Kudilan so that his children could enjoy eating coconuts. Dushtan himself had visited my cousin’s place at Chakkampuzha several times accompanying my nephew Vincent Mathew, at least once a month. My nephew and Dushtan were classmates at St Thomas College Palai. Later, during the trial of the eviction case, Dushtan would say from the witness box in the court, under oath, that he had never been to our tharavad house at Chakkampuzha and there was no such tharavad house at Chakkampuzha, and that he never knew my cousin Professor M. Mathai (In fact my cousin had taught Dushtan Malayalam at the College) etc.

Later in 1984-1985, Kudilan’s daughter Paanchaali told me that on that morning before coming to Chakkampuzha to see me and to request for help, Kudilan asked Paanchaali to give him some money for the bus fare with her own hand. He believed that if he received money from the hand of Paanchaali then the purpose for which he would be going would be fulfilled. Thus he took the bus fare from Paanchaali’s hand, after giving the necessary amount to her, and came to Chakkampuzha to see me.

The lunch program for poor students was started due to a request from Principal Kureethadom. Once when I visited the College, the Principal Rev Fr Kureethadom told me that there were many students at the College without having lunch and that they did not bring lunch because there was nothing at home to bring. Hence they stayed with empty stomach until evening and then went home after the classes. Possibly they had only one meal a day. He himself was helping some students by distributing lunch coupons. For taking food at the College Canteen, everybody had to buy books of lunch coupons in advance. Then tear up one coupon from the book and give to the Canteen at the time of taking lunch. Any person going to the canteen with a lunch coupon would be served lunch. The Principal said that if I could help a little by sending some money then he would convert that money into lunch coupons and would walk around the College veranda during lunchtime and give at least a few lunch coupons each day. I agreed. When I returned to Canada I sent him a bank draft for Rs 1,000/- (one thousand) for the lunch program of that year. In those days, one Canadian dollar was about three and a half to four rupees only. That was about $250, about half of my monthly salary before paying taxes in those days. The Principal distributed many lunch coupons with that money. This help I continued until Rev Fr Kureethadom retired and left the College.

When I helped students, I used to pay for their full expenses, fees, books, clothes, bus fare or hostel fees plus even food, to 4 to 5 students each year. These students used to be introduced to me by priests of church parishes, principals of colleges, headmasters of schools, Mother Superiors of nunneries and my relatives at various parts of Kerala. I helped almost all of them, who came with a story of helplessness. I might have paid for the educational expenses of more than one hundred students by the year 2000, about slightly less than half of them girls and the rest boys. Even though the money for expenses came from me, I never met more than half of those students. The contact was only through principals, headmasters etc. Only the ones whose parents wanted me to write to them I wrote letters and that too only as replies to their letters. Whenever I replied to their letters, I gave good advice for them to have a bright future. All the ones that I helped are still thankful and grateful to me except four of them. Out of these four, two of them are Kudilan’s children Paanchaali and Dushtan and the other two are from Mampoil in Kannur District in North Kerala, India.

 

 

Two ungrateful brothers from Mampoil

 

First I shall tell the story about the two ungrateful recipients of my help. These were from a place called Mampoil in north Kerala. When I went to visit my cousin’s (my father’s sister’s son) place at Mampoil near Alakode area in Kannur District in north Kerala, my cousin, his wife and children talked about a very decent but destitute family in their neighborhood deserving help. According to their story, their neighbor was a widow whose husband passed away when she was in her twenties, leaving three very small children, two boys and a girl. The lady struggled very hard to bring up the children. Her sister, who was a nurse in Madhya Pradesh, took the girl away, when she was in her early teens. The girl was thus with her aunt. The two boys passed their SSLC Examinations and had no means of going for higher studies. The eldest was interested to do car mechanical work and the younger boy wanted to take a B.A degree and then wanted to do some business. My cousin and his family wanted my help in educating these two boys. The two boys came and talked to me at my cousin’s place and then the lady came and talked to me. The boys appeared to be very smart and well-spoken and I assumed that they would become somebody very successful if I helped them. With my cousin’s and his whole family’s testimony about the good character of the whole family, I decided to help.

I sent the elder boy to a mechanic’s shop at Thaliparambu to become a car driver cum mechanic. I sent the younger one to a tutorial college to become a businessman. Each time I visited my cousin’s place (about once a year), I got very good reports about the boys’ progress. After about two years the elder boy graduated and supposed to have become a good car mechanic and a good driver. The younger one was also involved in a cashew nut cooperative society along with his studies. Each time I visited my cousin’s place the younger fellow used to bring small packets of processed cashew nut with the packets having the cooperative society’s seal. He also claimed to be earning some money, as the cooperative society’s representative for procuring cashew nuts from growers for processing in the factory. On all these occasions the reports about their character, in fact the whole family’s character, were excellent. I also thought and was satisfied thinking that the help rendered by me was highly useful and helpful to the family.

Then the boys put forward an idea. If I could buy a second-hand pick-up truck the elder boy could drive it himself and make some money and pay off the truck within six months. In that area, only jeeps and big lorries (trucks) were available. Hence a pick-up truck with four-wheel drive would be very successful. Within six months the money invested could be recovered and since the boy was supposed to be a good mechanic and a driver, the truck would be maintained and the truck would look like new even after six months period. I decided to invest about Rs 1 lakh (Rs 100,000/-) to buy a pick-up truck, hoping to collect back that money within a year or two, and after collecting back my investment, without interest, I was planning to donate the truck to the boy himself so that he could make a living with that truck and build upon it later. This was in the early 1990’s. I asked him to search for a truck and he located one belonging to a Muslim fellow who was driving the truck himself and making a living but he had left for Gulf and hence his father was selling the truck. The truck looked brand new. It was of four-wheel drive and ideal for our purpose.

One morning I went to Thaliparambu to transfer the ownership papers to me and the amount was paid as per the agreement signed. I waited at the insurance agent’s office and the boy left to bring the owner for doing the necessary paperwork. Even by 5 pm he did not return. In that same morning when he found that I had a valid local driver’s license and that the truck was going to be bought in my name he was a little surprised. But I did not have any mistrust about his integrity because all the recommendations from my cousin and his family were in the superlative. He came a few minutes after 5 pm, making many excuses. Since it was already passed 5 pm, registration could not be done on that day. He also knew that I was scheduled to leave on the next day early in the morning. I told him to register the truck in my uncle’s name the next day itself. I gave my uncle the details also and I left for Trivandrum as scheduled. After reaching Trivandrum I wrote to my uncle about the registration and got the reply that the registration was done and that he had the RC Book (vehicle registration booklet) with him. Then I left for Canada.

When I came back after about 4 months, I went to Mampoil to inquire about the truck. The boy came and gave me a glorious picture and said that about Rs 25,000/- savings was already there and the amount was in the bank “savings passbook”, that bank account was opened as per my instructions. By this time my cousin’s younger son Santosh told me that good income was available from the truck operation but the boy was not doing any maintenance work on the truck. He was not driving the truck himself as originally planned and promised, but instead, he had employed a driver as well as a cleaner (helper) and that he was spending the profit on a girl, who was a distant relative of his and whom he was planning to marry. He was also staying at this girl’s house and the truck itself was not running in Mampoil or nearby area as originally planned but it was running about 10 to 15 kilometers away, near the girl’s home. But the elder boys of my cousin still gave me good reports and the eldest boy even gave a superlative report. I assumed that the youngest boy was a little jealous and that he was angry because he was not allowed to learn driving by using that truck. The truck boy had given me the story that the youngest son of my cousin wanted to learn driving on the truck. Fearing that the truck would be destroyed, he did not allow anyone to learn driving by using the truck! His explanation for employing a driver and a cleaner was that the work available was too much and that he could not handle alone because his time was taken up in getting contracts, collecting money etc. Meanwhile the younger boy of my cousin also told me that the truck was about to be seized by the local police because the truck was used to transport stolen logs, that too, belonging to a neighbor in Mampoil but one local community leader got involved and informed the police that the truck belonged to me. Hence the driver was let to go after taking an apology from him and after showing to the police where the logs had been unloaded. I went and talked to the community leader. He said that the story was correct but most probably the truck boy was not involved in stealing the logs but transported the logs for some stranger and unloaded where the stranger wanted the logs to be unloaded. He believed that the truck boy was innocent.

In any case, I wanted to see the bank passbook. I had told him the exact time that I would be starting from Mampoil and he must come with the passbook before I left the house. I waited until the appointed time and then I started walking to the main road to take a bus. On the way to the main road to catch the bus, the truck boy came running and panting for breath and handed to me a bank passbook. I had no time to check the details or take down the details of the book. But the book had entries of deposits of Rs 300 to Rs 400 almost every day, totaling up to Rs 25,000/- in four months’ time. I returned the passbook to him and assumed that the enterprise and help were a great success. I went to Canada and came back to India in the first week of April to stay until the end of August, to look after the research centre called the Centre for Mathematical Sciences at Trivandrum, Kerala, India.

I rushed to Mampoil to hear about the progress of the truck enterprise. This time also the truck boy came, and gave a rosy picture and claimed that the bank passbook amount had grown to Rs 50,000/-. As per the passbook, about half of my investment was already realized within six months. But the youngest boy of my cousin came and told me again that I must go and see my truck. It was completely in a demolished condition and that the truck boy and his brother were transferring the income from the truck to some other business etc. But the truck boy brought the bank passbook with Rs 50,000/- worth of entries in it. But Santosh, the youngest son of my cousin, insisted that there was nothing in the bank and that the passbook was a forgery. I told the truck boy to come with the passbook to the bank at 10 am the next day so that I could withdraw some Rs 25,000/- out of the Rs 50,000/- in the bank. He agreed and I was asked to go to the town near the bank and wait.

I went there at 9.30 am and waited until 2.30 pm. By that time the bank time was over. Then I came to the bus stop area and waited. By about 4.30 pm, the truck boy got down from a bus. He did not expect me waiting there. He made up a story that some truck part was urgently needed for the truck and that he went to Thaliparambu for the part, he could not find it, so he had to go to Kannur etc. He insisted that the bank would be open until 5 pm. We rushed to the bank and found that the bank time was, as usual, until 2 pm only. Then I realized that he was trying to fool me and cheat me. I told him that he must find Rs 25,000/- from someone and give to me by next morning by 7 am. After that time, I was going to take action against him.

The next day, the boy came and gave me Rs 6,000/- and said, that was all what he could raise. I insisted to go and see the truck. Reluctantly he took me to the truck. It was looking like something picked up from the junkyard, no lights of any type, no nuts, bolts etc but instead holes where nuts should be present. The body was smashed up all over. No key to start it. It was started by pushing. I asked the driver to drive, what was left of the truck, to my uncle’s place. He refused point-blank. I asked the cleaner to take the truck and drive. He refused. By this time the truck boy had started collecting the so-called “local public” to prevent me from removing a “public utility vehicle” from their area. So I decided to go to Manakadavu and inform my uncle and my cousins and also to arrange a driver from there to take away the truck. One driver from Mampoil said that he would come the next day by 6 am. By 6 am he did not come. I sent my cousin to inquire and found that the truck boy had threatened that driver the previous night and hence the driver did not want to come. Thus, there was no driver to come along. My cousin and I decided to go to the town and look for a driver. We could not find any driver. We decided to go to the house where the truck boy was staying. The truck boy had already left for the town. We told the house owner the details. Even though the truck boy was supposed to marry the house owner’s daughter, he agreed to talk to the boy and persuade him to handover the truck along with all the money that he made from the truck. [Incidentally, the girl and her parents were good people. After hearing what the boy had done to me she decided not to marry anyone and she joined a nunnery and became a nun]. We went to the town and found the truck boy. In a very serious tone I told the truck boy to start the truck and drive it to my uncle’s place. From the tone and attitude he gathered that if he did not drive the truck he would be slapped and beaten in the public road even though he had assembled some so-called general public by that time. He hesitated. But I said that I was telling him once again and for the last time to start the truck. Then he said that we had to push it to start. We pushed staying on either side and ready to jump in as soon as the truck started, otherwise he could drive it away leaving us there. When it started we jumped in. The truck had no break, the steering did not work properly and practically nothing worked. He finally brought it near my uncle’s place and parked. My uncle told me that the truck boy had collected the RC Book and the second set of keys from him a few weeks back. I told the truck boy to come with the RC Book, the keys and the bank balance to my uncle’s place the next day morning.

By next day morning the truck boy and his brother and his mother came to my uncle’s place. He did not have the RC Book or keys or bank balance. The younger fellow and the mother claimed that a lot of their life-savings were spent in repairing the truck. In other words, all the money that was collected through the operation of the truck plus their own savings were spent on the truck! Hence I should give them at least Rs 10,000/- so that they would return the RC Book claiming that they had borrowed some money from one specific person by pawning the RC Book. Immediately, one local leader, who was also present, was sent to the person and to tell him that if he had the RC Book he would go to jail unless he returned it to me immediately.

By now, the true colors of the boys and their mother started to come out. The younger fellow started saying that nobody, like me, would help a total stranger to the tune of Rs 1 lakh unless there was something going on between his mother and me. In other words the son was claiming that his mother was a prostitute and I was one of her clients. The mother smiled as if the statement was correct. Then I realized why the boys and the mother were inviting me for dinner whenever I visited Mampoil. I usually did not go to strangers, and I politely refused each time they invited. One day my cousin’s daughter and I were returning from the local church after the morning mass. The boys’ mother was waiting at the roadside and invited us for tea. We went in and had tea. After we came out I gave specific instructions to my cousin’s daughter never to go to that house alone even if the mother invited her. From the behavior, I suspected that the family was not proper type of people.

During the negotiations, the truck boy challenged me saying that if I could collect the money or the RC Book from them then collect if I was man enough to do it. By this time my uncle told me that the truck boy’s father was done away with by the general public because he used to borrow money and never return the money. My cousin gave glorious report about the widow and her children because my cousin’s eldest son was in love with the woman’s daughter who was in Madhya Pradesh with her aunt and the love affair was in its zenith. Thus, they were going to be relatives soon.

The mediators put forward a suggestion that let the truck boy take over the truck again and use it to transport the stones from the quarry that he was running (The truck boy had diverted the money from the truck operation to buy stone (granite) quarry and he had a contract from the highway department to supply stones regularly). Let him pay Rs 1 lakh in installments. The truck boy readily agreed hoping that he could get hold of what was left of the truck and sell it in parts and collect that money also. I said that an agreement had to be drawn up showing the exact details, the agreement had to be registered and their land ownership deed should be deposited with my uncle as a guarantee for the agreement. Then the mother and the younger boy said that they had to discuss the matter with the boys’ sister who was in Madhya Pradesh, who would be returning soon and hence allow the truck boy to use the truck until then. By this time it came to light that the bank passbook was the truck boy’s own creation. He deposited Rs 10 and collected a passbook from the local cooperative bank. The truck boy himself, copying the bank clerk’s initials in the passbook, made all subsequent deposit entries. Thus, as my cousin’s younger son Santosh had told me, there was no money in the bank except the original Rs 10 deposit. Later it came to light that the logs belonging to the neighbor, and supposed to have been transported for a stranger, were in fact stolen by the truck boy and his brother. But someone from the area recognized the sound of my pick-up truck and it was news by the morning that this truck was used to transport the stolen logs. Hence the truck boy was compelled to admit this fact and had to show to the police where the logs had been unloaded.

While the discussion or negotiation was going on, the younger brother of the truck boy again made remarks to the extent that buying the truck for them was not in fact any help but it was a repayment for sleeping with his mother. At this stage, I told everybody present. Let everyone hear and mark my words that this boy would end up and go just like his father was done away with. Let everyone preset here record this and keep in mind. I cursed him because I could not tolerate the ingratitude of the worst kind. I helped them thinking that I was helping a destitute family, and that too, as per the request of my cousin and his family. My only contact with the lady was that she came and talked to me at my cousin’s house on 2 or 3 occasions in total and once I had a cup of tea at their place with my cousin’s daughter, spending about 10 minutes. In any case, in less than six month’s time after my curse, the boy was found in the railway track near Kannur town with the head cut off by the running train. It was rumored that either the people at the cashew nut cooperative society had done away with him and put the dead body at the railway track or the boy committed suicide when all the share certificates, that he acquired at the Society by diverting funds from the truck operation, were taken away from him by force by the leaders at the Cooperative Society.

The discussion on that day at my uncle’s place did not go anywhere. Also I found that my uncle and cousin did not want to take any stronger action against the lady and her boys because the marriage between the lady’s daughter and the eldest son of my cousin was already fixed. Hence they were inclined to support the thesis to let the boy have that truck again and my uncle could intervene and collect all the income from the operation of the truck from then onwards. I did not agree because I knew very well that the truck would be disposed off by the boy in no time and then the matter would be more complicated and neither the truck nor the money would be there to collect back. I decided either to sell what was left of the truck or take it to Ernakulam. For doing either of these I needed the RC Book. Since mediators could not collect the RC Book from the truck boy and his family I had to get help from outside sources.

The next day I returned to Trivandrum. From Trivandrum I contacted one Thomas. This fellow was a bulky fellow of over six feet tall and was convicted of a murder at Palai when he was a student. Everyone knew that it was self-defense. It originated from an RSS group consisting of several persons attacking Thomas to settle score for some other earlier incident with an RSS sympathizer and the College boys. Thomas was the defender of the College boys in that earlier incident. When Thomas was convicted of murder by the High Court at Ernakulam, he was given life imprisonment and he was sent to the Central Jail at Trivandrum. This Thomas and Dushtan were in the same bodybuilding and wrestling groups at St Thomas College Palai and were very close friends. In fact, the Kudilan family took Thomas to hospital when the attacking group left him on the public road, thinking that he was dead. Dushtan came to me one day with a request to help Thomas with funds for securing bail from the Supreme Court of India. I knew that Thomas stabbed at random in self-defense, when he was alone and was attacked by a large group of armed men, and as a result of the stabbing, one person died. Everyone at Palai knew this fact. Hence I loaned some funds and Thomas first got the bail, and after a few years got acquittal from the Supreme Court of India. Hence I thought that this Thomas would help me in this hour of need for me. Besides, Thomas was running a health center at Payyannur near my uncle’s place at that time. I called him at the health center and explained the problem. Then I told Thomas that I would be coming from Trivandrum by the Trivandrum-Mangalore train on such and such day. When the train reaches Payyannur station, Thomas should meet me at the station with the RC Book of my pick-up truck. He agreed. Thomas went with his friend, who was much more bulky than him, to the stone quarry where the truck boy was supervising his quarry operations. They caught hold of him, slapped him, in the presence of all his workers at the quarry and put him in Thomas’ jeep and took him away from the quarry. Then truck boy was “gently persuaded” to tell where the RC Book was, and to go there with Thomas and his friend and hand over the RC Book and the keys of the truck. The truck boy said that the RC Book was with his mother at home. They went to his house right away and the truck boy asked his mother to give the RC Book and the keys. When I reached Payannur by train on the scheduled day, Thomas and his friend were there at the station with the RC Book and keys. Thomas also arranged a driver-cum mechanic to make the truck drivable and then to drive it to Ernakulam.

The truck needed a lot of repair. The local workshop there would give a maximum of Rs 20,000 to buy the truck. Hence the truck was brought to Ernakulam and got it repaired. This is the story of the two out of the four ungrateful people who received help from me.

 

 

Educating Kudilan’s children: putting foundations to my snake farm

 

As promised, I started sending money regularly for the education of Paanchaali and Dushtan. A bank account was opened in the name of Paanchaali at Palai so that cheques could be cashed through the bank. Several of the girls that I helped to educate are holding good jobs now, several others have become housewives and some have become nuns. Several of the boys that I helped have graduated and are holding good jobs. But most the boys dropped out at various stages. Whenever I found that the money that I sent was being used to go to cinemas, spend at tea shops, for playing politics and hoping to become student leaders etc I stopped the financial support then and there. Thus I can say that the help rendered to boys was mostly wasted. I have no knowledge about the whereabouts of boys and girls whom I helped through headmasters, principals, and Mother Superiors and through my relatives. I never cared to keep track of them and I assume that they are all doing well in their lives and are grateful to me, their unknown benefactor.

I started getting letters from Paanchaali at the rate of one almost every week. Other students, whom I helped, used to write once in two weeks or once in a month. My condition was to write to me once in a month with the details of expenditure of that month. To each letter, from whomsoever I received, I used to reply on the same day itself. My routine used to be the following: I got up at 5 am, got ready by 6 am, started for the office and reached the office between 6.30 am and 7 am depending upon the road traffic. My home was about 20 miles away from the university campus. At 6.30 am the underground garage in my building used to be opened. That was why I used to reach the campus between 6.30 am and 7.am so that I could always find a parking spot. Parking, even though prepaid, was on first come first served basis. After reaching the office the teapot was made ready with fresh water. My e-mail was checked and replied right away. Then I started academic activities. Teaching material was revised, new illustrative practical examples were thought-out, some examples were worked out so that I would not get stuck on the blackboard while doing the problems in class, new and current results on the topics were checked in the departmental library which was on the next floor down, for which each faculty member had a key. References were taken down so that the details could be given to the students etc. Then research work was continued. By 5.30 to 6 pm all the routine academic work would be over. Then all the collected mail were sorted out and answered. Mail delivery to the office was there twice a day at about 11 am and at around 3 pm. All the pieces of mail of that day were taken care off before I left the office at around 7 pm for home. At home, I relaxed and switched off the brain by watching TV, and went to bed by 9.30 to 10 pm. If I did research work in the evening then the brain would be heated up and active and I did not get good sleep and hence I never used to do brain work in the evening.

All the personal letters, such as the ones from the students that I was helping financially, from relatives etc used to be put in a draw in my working table. Once in six months, by that time the draw would be full, I used to destroy all such mail. But I kept all official correspondences, which were filed away properly. These are still there in Montreal from 1961 onwards till now. Thus, when O.S.No.103/2000 (my suit to evict the Kudilan family from my house) was filed in February 2000, I did not have any of the more than one thousand letters that Paanchali had written to me, except a few latest ones of 1999–2000. Her letters during 1983 to 1995 period contained all sorts of stories about them, about neighbors, about acquaintances etc. Even five such letters would have been sufficient to tear up all their claims in no time. There were about three letters regarding their personal intimate escapades. I had brought them and kept in the locked almirah in the master bedroom at Ernakulam, because they were too hot to be left in Montreal. When I looked for them in 2000 I realized that Dushtan had already taken them, because they were dealing with his escapades, along with several documents relating to the house.

In December 1983 or early 1984, Kudilan with his children Paanchaali and Dushtan came to the Palai KSRTC bus stand to see me. That was the first time I met Kudilan’s children. On a later occasion they invited me to visit their rented place in Karangayil in Arunapuram near St Thomas College Palai. I think that it was in the summer of 1984. Their rented place was originally meant for storing coconuts. That land used to be a coconut garden. The bottom part of the coconut storage chamber was bound by laterite brick wall. The walls were not plastered. When I visited, the land had only very old coconut trees, but some of them were still fruiting. Also, the owner of the land planted the entire land with rubber trees. The trees were about 4 to 5 years old in 1984 and the entire ground was covered with wild peas to protect the ground as protection for the young rubber trees. The property and everything in it belonged to the landlord. According to one story the owner of that land was once a very poor boy. He used to earn a livelihood by picking arecanut (beetle nut) for others and getting the daily wages. From that humble beginning he saved and became very rich eventually, and by 1984, he owned a jewelry store at Palai, other businesses and lots of land around. Karangayil was one such land pieces owned by him. Due to land ceiling laws in Kerala, it was said that he held most of the landed properties in the names of his trusted friends and employees to bypass the land ceiling. I was not sure whether Karangayil property was held in his own name or held as benami.

When I visited the Kudilan family, Kudilan had a female calf. He was feeding it with grass on the roadside. That calf also learnt to eat little bit of the wild peas once in a while. Usually, that type of wild peas was poisonous to animals. That hut had a well on one side. There were no indoor toilet facilities. Even the women had to go to the fields (rubber plantation) to relieve themselves. Kudilan told me that he owed several months’ rent in arrears to Mattathil Kochettan, the owner of the land. Kudilan said that his ambition in life was to save enough money to buy a gold chain for Paanchaali, at least half a powen worth (A powen is about 8 and a half grams). I was really moved by seeing the pitiable condition. He was the most trusted and most loyal peon at the College, who did a lot of errands for me from 1953 to 1961. Before visiting them the next time, after a few weeks, I went to the same Mattathil Kochettan’s jewelry shop in Palai town and bought a gold chain weighing about half a powen to fulfill Kudilan’s dreams and ambitions. I went to their rented hut and donated this chain to Kudilan to be given to Paanchaali. This was the first-ever gold item that she wore in her life.

This time, they narrated some horrible stories also. As mentioned earlier, the Kudilan family helped Mr Thomas, about whom I have written earlier. The RSS group, who attacked Thomas, wanted to take revenge against the Kudilan family for helping Thomas. According to Kudilan and Kundi, the RSS group had threatened to liquidate their children Paanchaali and Dushtan. Another story was that on two occasions two people tried to molest Paanchali in their rented hut. Another story was that their neighbors had stolen all their chicken from their chicken coop. In order to prevent Kudilan family from coming out, the thieves used to come and scratch at the doors and windows in the night and frighten them. Once, someone removed some roof tiles and tried to enter the house. Kudilan begged me to help him to move to a more secure place at least for the sake of Paanchaali and to protect her. After hearing all these horrible stories, I decided to buy a small house myself in the Arunapuram area and rent it out to them at a very nominal charge. I asked him to look around for a house. They located two houses. I went and checked. For one of them, the owner was asking Rs 7 lakhs and for the other Rs 5 lakhs. At that rate, I thought that it would be cheaper to build my own house in the building plot that I owned at Edappally in Ernakulam. This plot was bought through my trusted friend Avirah (not the real name).

 

 

My trusted classmate

 

Avirah and I were classmates in the College. When we graduated, Avirah got only a second class and hence he could not get admission for M.Sc at Trivandrum. He went to Aligarh Muslim University in north India and completed his M.Sc in Statistics by 1960. After taking his M.Sc he joined St Thomas College Palai as a lecturer and thus we taught together during the year 1960-1961. In 1961 I left for Canada and soon after that Avirah got selection as a statistical officer in Delhi and got transferred to Indo-Norwegian Fisheries Project (later named, Integrated Fisheries Project) at Ernakulam. His close friend was a Real Estate Agent Karia (not real name). Starting from 1970’s I used to inform Avirah when I would be landing at Cochin airport. Invariably, Avirah and Karia used to pick me up from the airport and used to arrange accommodation for me in a hotel in Ernakulam. I used to spend at least one day with them. For a few years he used to rent a hotel room or vacant house for me for one month. I used to leave my suitcase in the room, used to keep my valuables with Avirah and then used to go to give lectures at Palai, visit my house at Chakkampuzha and other relatives in north Kerala area. Then later, Avirah built a house at Mamangalam in Edappally area of Ernakulam. Since his wife had a job at Palai, she and children stayed at Palai and they came to their house at Ernakulam during holidays or weekends. After Avirah built his house at Ernakulam, I used to leave my suitcase at his house, keep the valuables in his locked office desk and used to move around in Kerala. During one such visits, Karia told me that he bought a tharavad house in Edappally, known as Kalliath Parambu, and that he planned to create an enclave residential colony there, mostly with people who were settled abroad, and he wanted me to buy the first lot because, with my name, he could sell the remaining lots at very high prices as well as he could attract highly placed people to that colony.

The market value in that area was about Rs 10,000/- per cent at that time, and he was going to give me at the rate of Rs 4,000/- per cent if I sent him a bank draft in dollars. In those days, Government of India had a special scheme. If a bank draft was sent in dollars to a person in India, then this person could sell it to the best bidder. The bank usually used to find a bidder and the recipient of the draft could earn usually 50% more than the rupee equivalent on the draft. I agreed. This was during my visit in December 1980. The plot was only on a drawing sheet at that time. We went to the site. The Kalliathu Tharavad house, the people, land with lots of trees were all there. As per the plan on a sheet of paper, my plot would be about 13.5 cents. When I returned to Canada I sent a bank draft in dollars in the name of Karia for the equivalent of about Rs 58,000/- He had already told me that whatever would be shown on the deed of sale would be much less than the actual price, the deed would be a direct transfer from the owner to me and the amount to be sent to him included what would be shown in the deed of sale plus all the expenses connected with survey, erecting survey stones, clearing the plot off trees, registration fees, bribes, his commission and fencing off the plot, and that the deed of sale would be kept with Avirah and I could collect it when I returned to India next time. In those days the buyer of the land did not have to sign, only the seller had to sign.

As promised, the deed of sale was with Avirah and the plot was all fenced around with konna trees and secured. When I bought the plot, I had a plan of building a house in the year 2000 because 2000 would be the year by when I could take retirement without losing any part of the pension. For early retirement, there was a deduction of 6% every year from the proposed pension. Since there was no retirement age in Quebec Province, where Montreal is situated, I could continue in my job forever or quit at any time after the age of 65, with a full pension. As per official certificates, I would be 65, with a full pension, in 2000. I also had a ready-made plan for a large house with a big indoor swimming pool etc, which I had made to make a bigger house in Montreal itself. But the mortgage rate went up too much, and the Real Estate prices went down in Montreal and hence I had to give up the idea of a bigger house. Thus I had a house plan with me already. I had made that plan myself and got it redrafted by the city architect for approval from the suburb of the city of Montreal. I thought that I could modify my plan, delete the indoor swimming pool, cut down the floor area and then it would fit into my plot at Ernakulam. I thought that if I built the house in 1985, instead of 2000, it would be a very great help to the most trusted loyal peon Kudilan also.

The second reason for advancing the date of construction from 2000 to 1985 was that by 1984 the pressure was too much on me to take up the Directorship of the Centre for Mathematical Sciences (CMS) at Trivandrum. The Founder-Director Professor Aleyamma George was really ill by that time. If I took up the directorship then I would be spending nearly six months every year in India and I would need a centrally located house in Kerala. In fact, I took up the directorship of CMS by January 1985. The third reason for deciding to build earlier was that my younger son was showing interest to marry an Indian girl from Kerala. Then I would definitely need a good house with modern facilities and centrally located in Kerala. Several of my relatives are spread from Kozhikode to Kasaragode in north Kerala and CMS would be at Trivandrum and my tharavad house, one brother and first cousins at Palai and hence Ernakulam would be ideal for my residence. Apart from the above, Ernakulam also has got a good airport, seaport and is the center of commercial activities in Kerala.

Kudilan family jumped at the idea and said that if I built the house and entrusted with them, then they would look after it like a treasure and would vacate the place whenever I wanted them to leave, and that their only concern was the marriage of Paanchaali and after that they could live anywhere and Dushtan would find some work and would look after them.

In Canada, I got every seventh year off with 85% salary, called sabbatical leave, to go around the world for collaborative research purposes. It was not a right but every faculty member, who did research work and research collaborations, could apply for a sabbatical leave and the best research workers were given the leave. Thus, I was assured of a sabbatical leave every seventh year and I also got the leave every seventh year. Hence I thought that if I started the construction in September 1984 I could finish by August 1985, overlapping with my sabbatical period when I could be present at Ernakulam, except for the occasional trips to the Centre for Mathematical Sciences at Trivandrum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER TWO

HOUSE CONSTRUCTION AND SETTLING IN

 

 

A contractor for constructing the house

 

ORIGINALLY I WAS planning to engage a group of Tamilians (people from the neighboring State of Tamil Nadu) to construct my house. I had talked to a group in Trivandrum, who were constructing a house near Professor Aleyamma George’s house where I was staying during my visits to Trivandrum. The Tamilian group agreed and requested me to get the plan approved and give them one week’s notice to start the work. They would work on it more or less continuously and finish within one year, as I wanted. I came to Ernakulam to get the opinion of my closest friend and confidant Avirah. When I told Avirah, he said that Tamilian groups would be usually unreliable. But there was an excellent group in the Integrated Fisheries itself, headed by its engineer and that the group had already built 186 houses and mine would be the 187th . Avirah himself would supervise whenever I was at Trivandrum or whenever I went abroad. He said that the group was 100% trustworthy. I talked to the engineer in the presence of Avirah and showed the floor plan. Wall and roofing materials and the wall construction were different in Montreal and hence only the floor plan could be used for Ernakulam. The engineer said that his group could do the job and they were capable of doing an excellent job. Then I said that we should have a proper written agreement. Then both the engineer and Avirah said, being government servants they could not either enter into any written agreement or receive the money through cheques. They also said that there was nothing called a written agreement in Kerala when a house was being constructed. The owner would entrust the work to a contractor on verbal agreement and cash was given and receipts taken if there was no full trust. Avirah assured me that an oral agreement would be sufficient and no breach of trust would be there from their part. Thus the oral agreement was that cash advances at the rate of Rs 20,000/- per week were to be given while the work was progressing, the contractor (engineer) would buy the materials in my name, obtain the receipts from the material suppliers in my name, keep the receipts and at the end he would give me all the receipts, the work site books giving the details of the labor employed etc. Five percent of the material price plus labor cost was to be given to the contractor as his commission. The contractor would redraft the plan as per the format of Cochin Corporation. Thus, the plan was redrafted, and permission was obtained in September 1984 itself and finally the work started on Wednesday the 5 th December 1984. The estimate given for completing the structure was Rs 3 lakhs, and for the complete finishing work Rs 5 lakhs in total. I had that much in savings in Montreal itself, which were in redeemable stocks, mutual funds, fixed deposits etc.

 

 

Starting of construction work

 

The foundation work was completed by 5th January 1985. When I wanted to settle the foundation part of the work, the contractor started quoting cubic feet rates for granite work, pillars etc. When I told him that as per the agreement it was material cost plus labor cost plus 5% commission, his explanation was that Tamilian sub-contractors did most of the foundation work and their rate was in cubic feet and he was just transferring their rate plus 5% commission. The amount came to Rs 61,838.38, which was far above my estimate. But the contractor assured me that the rest of the work would be done by his workers and hence the agreed upon process would be continued. When I found that the foundation cost was too high, I had talked to Avirah also. He also assured me that the rate was correct because the contractor was taking only 5% commission and the Tamilian’s rates were automatically transferred to me etc. With his assurance, I decided to continue. I told him that the next stage would be finishing the structure and that we would settle the account at that stage also, and then start the next stage of interior finishing. He agreed to that also. The chief mason of the contractor was one Dilver (Silverson), the second in command was one Thomas, the chief of concrete work was one Antony, and the chief of carpentry work and the contractor’s foreman was one Paul. Electrical and plumbing works were done through a sub-contractor named Joy. Before Joy started his work, he came and told me that he would like to settle all his accounts directly with me and not through the contractor. Then he would, on his own, give a commission to the contractor for arranging the job. I agreed and told him the same things what I told the contractor, namely to obtain all bills and receipts in my name, keep the receipts and give them to me periodically or at the end and to note down all the advances received from me. Joy started bringing the bills. I paid the bigger amounts directly to the shops mainly Appollo Electricals and Excellent Sanitary Wares at Ernakulam. Appollo’s used to be straight billing, mentioning the specific items. Mr Joy was to be trusted as to whether he really bought the items or not. I think that he really bought. But the billings system of Excellent Sanitary Wares was a suspect. Certain bills contained items that were not at all needed for the house and then certain bills were there showing these items were collected back. The system was so confusing that I could not keep track and hence I had to assume that Joy was keeping track. The contractor also seemed to have been involved directly or indirectly with Excellent Sanitary Wares. Even a broken toilet was finally seen fitted in my house. I got a feeling at the end that the lowest quality items, bought at highest possible prices, were used in my house. I paid smaller bills directly to Joy. At the end, Joy had all accounts in order, which matched with my account books.

I had kept separate books for materials purchased, with dates, bill numbers, names of shops and amounts paid (Exhibit A10 (a)), separate book recording all types of payments, a separate book for payment to the contactor (Exhibit A10 (d)) and another book recording my personal daily expenses such as expenses for food, local travels, personal items, gifts etc (Exhibit A10). Even though I kept all these account books as a matter of personal habits, for which almost all people ridiculed me always about my strange habits, all these account books turned out to be the most valuable evidences in my eviction case O.S. No.103/2000 at the end. I never thought that the accounts books would come in as useful evidence in a case involving my house. I never expected that there would be any case involving my house. If I had a suspicion of that type in those days then I would have written up more details and that too very precisely.

In order to use the best quality items in my house I decided to go to the shops myself, buy the items in advance and give to the chiefs of each section before going out of station. I went with the carpenter and bought brass screws, nails etc the total number needed for the entire house, expensive 3-lever Godrej locks and handles for as many doors as there would be in the house etc. Later I found to my dismay that all the nails and screws used in the house were the cheapest quality iron ones and not a single brass item was used. I went with the contractor and carpenter to the best timber depot in Ernakulam and selected perfect rosewood logs with the best color, without branches or defects of any sort. Finally, I found that all the balcony railings, staircase etc were done in very poor quality rosewood with holes, branch marks, holes filled with filling materials etc. Not a single piece from the rosewood log, that I selected and paid for, was used in my house. Best jack tree wood and saal wood (anjili) were bought and paid for. I told the carpenter and contractor not to paint the doors and windows before I inspected them. But by the time I came back from Trivandrum all the windows and doors were painted in white and already set on the wall. Each one blamed the other for doing it. Within ten years, several doors had big holes because the wood rotted out due to immature outer portion (vella) was used; the windows came off at several places because the frame was rotted out etc. The same story was there with teakwood also. There was no teak wood oil smell while the carpenters were working with the so-called teakwood. I selected and paid for the best country-teakwood. I said that they looked like vanthekku or vellilamaavu, two trees having more or less the same types of grains as that of the teakwood but the carpenters claimed that the teakwood was preserved in water and thereby lost the aromatic oil from the wood.

The cost overrun started. The promised Rs 3 lakhs for the structure was already over, but the structure was nowhere complete. The cost went over Rs 5 lakhs. All the savings in Montreal were finished. I had to borrow $20,000 against my investments there, which meant a few percentage of loss as the difference in the interest rates. Then I decided to sell out the building plots that I had bought and kept for building a bigger house in Montreal. That amount was also finished in no time. Then I decided to sell my country estate of over 120 acres of land on a lake, with a lakefront of over 1500 feet, with 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom winterized house with a total investment of over $110,000. I had to sell it for $83,000 and that too payment to me in installments, spread over three years without interest. Finally, this amount was used to complete the building at Ernakulam. Thus all my savings and investments from 1964 to 1986 were used up in completing the house, with Rs 5 lakh initial estimate ending up with over Rs 11 lakhs at the end.

Now let us go back to the story of the Kudilan family. I was supervising the construction of the house myself from December 1984 until the end of August 1985. During this period, whenever I went to Trivandrum, my friend Avirah would come to the site periodically in Integrated Fisheries’ own vehicles, check the work and would go back to his office. Even when I went to Trivandrum, I came back to Ernakulam by Friday evening. During Saturday and Sunday I would be at the work site and either continued to stay in Ernakulam or went back to Trivandrum by Monday early morning train when there were urgent things to do in Trivandrum.

My sabbatical leave was going to be finished by the end of August 1985 and I had to teach during September, October and November in Montreal, Canada. Whenever I was in Trivandrum and when the contractor would need money urgently, I had withdrawn the necessary amounts from my account at the State Bank of India, KTDC Building in Ernakulam and used to entrust with my friend Avirah, and then Avirah used to give to the contractor. Total amount given to the contractor through Avirah was about Rs 70,000/-. But I was a little disturbed about two payments, one for Rs 20,000/- involving the supplier of Jack and Saal wood to the contractor and one for Rs 10,000/- involving his friend and Real Estate agent Karia, because each one gave me a different story.

By this time Kudilan family had become very close and Paanchaali seemed to be 100% trustworthy to handle funds and also seemed to be very efficient all around. I still had the belief that Kudilan was extremely loyal, honest and faithful and I assumed that his children also would be of the same type. Hence I decided to keep the necessary funds in Paanchaali’s account at Palai to be disbursed to the contractor during the period that I would be in Montreal, namely, the period September-November 1985. Usually I would be in Kerala by the first week of December and left back to Canada by the first week of January. Then I used to come back to India in April to stay until August. This used to be routine after taking up the Directorship of the Centre for Mathematical Sciences at Trivandrum. I kept the necessary funds in the account of Paanchaali and left for Canada in August 1985. Then I wrote letters to her regarding the disbursement of funds to the contractor. Again, during January-March 1986 period I had to be in Montreal for teaching. This time also I did the same things of keeping the necessary funds in Paanchaali’s account at Palai. Paanchaali was supposed to take a bus from Palai to Ernakulam, accompanied by her brother Dushtan, give the money to the contractor and return to Palai immediately. The amount to be given was specified as not more that Rs 10,000/- per week as and when the contractor wanted the money ( Exhibit B4 Series). I did not want to entrust the money with Dushtan due to my bad experiences with boys, whom I financed to educate. As I had mentioned earlier, by the time I started looking after the educational expenses of Paanchaali and Dushtan, the children of my trusted peon Kudilan, I had already looked after the educational expenses of at least over 50 students. All the girls spent the money strictly according to my instructions and most of them did well in studies also. But, almost all boys spent the money for cinemas, at teashops etc and did poorly in studies. Hence I did not want to entrust large amounts with Dushtan at that time. Later events would show that the decision was a correct and wise one also.

The amounts disbursed to the contractor through various people were the following: Rs 70,000/- through Avirah, Rs 9,750/- through Karia, Rs 1,000/- through Karthikeyan, Rs 10,000/- through Dushtan, Rs 46,000/- through Paanchaali. Thus a total of Rs 56,000/- through Paanchaali and Dushtan combined, and the maximum payment was through Avirah to the tune of Rs 70,000/-. All details including dates and amounts disbursed each time and the mode of payment were recorded in my accounts books ( Exhibit A10 (d) ). Against all these individual payments, I had noted these down as “given by” so and so, meaning “given through” so and so. The defendants were later going to say that “by” meant that the found was their own, even though at that time, both Paanchaali and Dushtan were students with no income of their own and their father was with a total pension income of Rs 202/- per month ( Exhibit B1). These accounts were written and kept for my own information. These books were not made with the intention of producing them anywhere, let alone in a court of law. Hence no special care was taken in preparing the books or in recording the items and details. The items were recorded then and there.

The entire construction, including finishing work, was promised to be finished by August 1985, before my sabbatical leave was finished. Then the contractor said that it would be finished by November 1985, then by February 1986 and so on. My letters to Paanchali, some of which the defendants produced as evidence later on (Exhibits B4 Series), would show that I was expecting the house to be finished on the above dates as promised by the contractor.

I did not want to keep the house finished and empty. My greatest fear was that someone would break-in, steal things and destroy items in the house if the house was kept unoccupied. I was not aware of the unjust laws in Kerala, creating the so-called “rights” and then protection of these “rights” to occupants of properties belonging to others. In all the countries that I know of, whenever the owner wanted the house back the occupants have to surrender the house immediately or as per the clauses of the contract if there existed a written contract between the parties. If I had any knowledge that the laws in this regard in Kerala were made to create and nurture crooks and to enable them for easy take-over of others’ properties then I would have locked up my house and hired security guards rather than putting Kudilan family in my house and allowing them to look after my house.

By December 1985 I started buying major items for the house assuming that by February 1986 or at the latest by March 1986 the house would be finished. I wanted to keep a few sets of my clothes, some important books and papers in my house rather than carrying them back and forth. Hence I asked the contractor to complete at least one room and one bathroom and give me the keys. Thus, on 2nd January 1986 two adjoining rooms on the northwest side of the ground floor and the adjoining bathroom were finished. Let me call them Rooms A and B. Keys were handed over to me. I kept my suitcase containing the clothes and other items in the middle room (Room B) and locked it from both the front and bathroom sides, I kept the finished bathroom accessible through the other finished room so that the contractor and workers could use the bathroom if necessary. Then I left for Canada on 4th January 1986. Water pump sets (2 of them) were already bought from Guru Associates in December 1985 for Rs 3,800/- but could not be connected because electricity connection was not there yet. The well was already dug in the very beginning and hence plenty of good water was available from the very beginning of construction work itself.

When I came back in April 1986 the house was going to be almost ready with flooring mosaic work and painting being done. Hence I bought a fridge from Godrej on 29th April 1986 for Rs 7,960/-, gas stove with rotisserie from Emerald Enterprises on 30th April 1986 for Rs 5,735/-. Temporary electricity connection came on 20th May 1986, temporary city water connection on 21st May 1986. Then on 1st July 1986 the keys, including the front door main key were handed over to me and I took custody of the whole house from the contractor (Exhibit A 10(d)). Then I started furnishing the various rooms.

 

 

Attempt by the contractor’s men to occupy my newly built house

 

Apart from the delay tactics of the contractor, there was also another very important reason for taking the control of my house from the contractor. One day when I was complaining to the contractors’ workers about the undue delay in completing my house, the workers jokingly told me why I was worrying too much about it because I was not the one finally going to occupy and stay in the house. I was a little stunned to hear such a story. I was using one of the contractor’s workers as a watchman in the night. In the evening, when all other workers left, I asked the watchman confidentially about the meaning of the workers’ joke about that I would not be the one going to occupy the house. Then the watchman told me that the plan was the following: The work would be delayed and would not be completed. Then the contractor would demand a huge amount from me claiming that a lot of money was spent from his side apart from what I had given. Then the workers would occupy my house claiming to be of a labor dispute. Then I would be finally compelled to sell the house. Then the contractor’s lawyer, who was notorious for creating fabricated cases and successfully conducting and winning all such fabricated cases, would make an offer equal to the exact amount that I had spent. Then I would have no choice other than to accept the offer and escape with the capital, without any interest, and then the contractor’s lawyer would be the one staying in my house. This was the plan. When I heard the story, I suspected that the story was true and there was every chance of losing the house if I did not stop the work, and take control of the house. I stopped the work telling the contractor that all my funds were finished and asked him to give me the accounts, bills, receipts and site books about labor employed etc as per the agreement and that I would finish the remaining finishing work slowly as and when I would have funds. That was also the time that I decided that I could not keep the house empty and locked up because the contractor’s own men would break in and occupy the house claiming of a labor dispute. Hence I decided that the Kudilan family had to be brought in to take care of the house, or I had to look for a distant relative of mine since all my close relatives were well placed and not free to come and look after my house, and in any case someone had to be at the house all the time.

Before bringing the Kudilan family to Ernakulam, I decided to give all the conditions in writing and that too well in advance so that there would not be any misunderstanding later on. I had written these conditions in detail and sent from Montreal itself. The conditions were the following: After reaching Ernakulam, they would be allowed to use three rooms in the north wing of the ground floor of the house. They must vacuum the whole house and dust the furniture every day. They must wash the floors every third day or at least twice a week. Since they had no money of their own, I would provide the necessary funds for their food, clothing, local travel, medical expenses etc. Kudilan must look after the garden and the trees, which would be planted in the courtyard. Dushtan should not stay in the house idle. He must find a job or start training as an auto mechanic within six months. Then as soon as he had a job or had made some money, he must take out his parents and move out from my house. By that time Paanchaali’s marriage was expected to be over. I had asked Kudilan to start looking for a husband for Paanchaali and that I would pay up to Rs 50,000/- towards marriage expenses in total. They should move out any time when I asked them to vacate the premises. They must think over carefully and then decide whether to come to Ernakulam or not. I specified that the main condition was that Dushtan must get trained for a job within six months of arrival at Ernakulam and take everyone out of the house as soon as he started earning something of his own. I received a reply from Paanchaali saying that they would abide by my conditions and they would move out whenever I asked them to move and Kundi (Mrs Kudilan) was worried and was thinking that they might become destitute in the streets of Ernakulam. To which I replied saying that if someone was thinking that he/she would have an unhappy future he/she would work towards it and achieve an unhappy future whereas if someone was optimistic for a happy future he/she would work for it and would have a happy future. This was one of the letters ( Exhibit B4 Series) they produced in the court in 2000 as one of their documents, without giving the background of this letter.

 

 

Growth of my snake farm: First attempt at extortion

 

By July 1986 when the house was about to be ready, Kundi, Dushtan and Paanchaali showed over-enthusiasm to come to Ernakulam. Kudilan pretended that he would like to stay at Palai. I said that either all could stay in Palai or all could come to Ernakulam. Then they told me that Kudilan owed a lot of money to various people, several months back rent to the house owner and money at some teashops etc at Palai. I gave the money to clear his claimed debts and also gave Rs 1000/- for truck charges to transport their belongings, namely, three country-style cots, a wooden box, a wooden ladder, to Ernakulam from Palai. Then on 21st July 1986 the truck with the materials plus Kundi, Dushtan and Paanchaali arrived but Kudilan did not come. Further, Kudilan, claiming that he had more borrowed money to give back, took the money the Rs 1,000/- that I had given for truck charges. They claimed that he needed another Rs 600/- or something like that to clear his debt in Palai and without clearing his debt if he left, then the debtors would come to Ernakulam and would ask money from me. I had a feeling that he was trying to sell his family to me or trying to blackmail me to extract money from me by putting me and his family into this situation. This was my gut feeling at that time. It turned out much later that my gut feeling was in fact correct. Then I thought Kudilan, being such an honest and loyal peon and a nice man, was in a difficult financial situation and he should be saved. I sent back Dushtan with the money and Kudilan came.

 

 

Preparation for making a hut in the courtyard

 

Among the materials that they brought, they had bundles of dried palm leaves. Kudilan and Kundi never expected me to allow the family to stay in a portion of the main house. They came prepared to make a hut in the compound for their stay. After seeing the bundles of dried palm leaves the workers at the site even commented and asked among themselves, where these people were going to make a hut. In the year 2002 when I approached some of these workers to testify in the Court on my behalf, they even remembered the Kudilan family coming to my house with their belongings consisting of 3 wooden cots, one wooden box, one wooden ladder, old dilapidated looking pieces of a couch and bundles of dried palm leaves.

The Kudilan family were overjoyed that I allowed them to use 3 rooms on the ground floor on the north wing of my house. They were not given exclusive use of these rooms. I periodically went in and checked each room to make sure that the rooms were kept nice and clean. Also they were not allowed to hang pictures on the walls or put any nail on the wall or to stick anything on built-in almirahs or show cases in the three rooms. Also, whenever I did repair work in the house I did in these rooms also. As late as in December 1999, I changed the bolts in the bathrooms attached to these rooms. Whenever painting was done it was done in these rooms at the same time, as well as painting the grills and repairing windows etc (Exhibits A10 (b), (c)). They started doing all the cleaning work in the house as specified by me. I paid for each and every item in the house including food, cooking gas, utility bills, their clothes, chapels, their bus fares for local travel etc (Exhibit A 10).

 

 

Claimed relationship

 

Either in 1985 or in 1986 they claimed to have a distant relationship to me. Kundi claimed that her house name was the same as the house name of my father’s elder brother’s wife’s house name. They claimed that Kundi’s family and my elder uncle’s wife’s family were related. I started helping them because of the request from Kudilan, my loyal and trusted peon. Now, hearing that there might be a distant relationship, I became still closer to the Kudilan family. When I started looking after the educational expenses of Panchaali and Dushtan, they started calling me “uncle”. This was common usage in the countryside in Kerala, out of respect rather than out of any blood relationship. Many youngsters belonging to Hindu and Muslin religions also still call me “uncle”. I never investigated their story about the claimed relationship. I assumed that it might be true. Only in the year 2000, when they refused to move out from my house, I asked my cousin (my elder uncle’s son) about their claimed relationship of Kudilan and his mother’s family. My aunt had passed away in late 1960’s and hence the story could not be verified with her directly. As far as he knew, they were not related. He said that they might have been unpaid tenants (kudi kidappukar) in his mother’s family properties and that was one way of acquiring the same house name, the name of the property where the tenants stayed, if the story that they had the same family name was in fact correct. Kundi’s family were traditionally daily-wage farm workers and still one of her sisters and her husband were daily-wage workers at the time, another sister and her family were also laborers and one sister was a spinster, could not get married because the family could not afford even Rs 1,000/- dowry.

 

 

One of my many mistakes: steady growth of my snake farm

 

One of the greatest mistakes that I committed was to introduce the defendants (Kudilan family) as my distant cousins, niece and nephew. In the countryside our family tradition was to introduce a faithful loyal servant, not as a servant, but as “our own” (swontham) man or woman meaning that the person could be a distant relative or a faithful helper. Usually we did not introduce the person as a servant. This family tradition turned out to be one of the greatest mistakes that I committed regarding the Kudilan family. Let this be a lesson to the readers. Never introduce your servants or helpers as “your own” to others. Introduce them as loyal and faithful helpers. Thus all the visitors to my house assumed that I had my relatives staying there. I came to know from others much later that Kudilan introduced his wife as my own direct sister, himself as my direct brother-in-law and Paanchaali and Dushtan as my direct niece and nephew. This, they had done at my back to all the people in the neighborhood. From the actions later on, it was clear that they had preplanned to cheat me and capture my properties and assets by taking advantage of my good nature and compassion for others. From the sequence of actions later on, it was clear that Kundi was scheming from 1983 onwards, from the day I agreed to look after the educational expenses of Paanchaali and Dushtan. She had confided in Dushtan, her trusted confidant and son, her scheme soon after they moved into my house. The mother and son worked hand-in-hand scheming and trying to set traps for me. They did not reveal their scheme to Kudilan and Paanchaali possibly until 1995. Until 1995 the mother and son were scheming together and after 1995 all the four of them worked together without any conscience of any sort pretending to be hundred percent loyal, honest and trustworthy in my presence and at the same time scheming at my back.

All my relatives also thought that they might be distantly related due to their story of Kundi’s house name being the same as my aunt’s house name. Nobody bothered to check about the details because whenever my relatives visited my house at Ernakulam the Kudilan family behaved very loyal, faithful and extremely honest. This was the beginning stage. But by 1995 my relatives stopped visiting one by one. Later I came to know from my relatives that Kudilan family tried to annoy them one after the other so that they would stop visiting my house. To all my colleagues at the universities and to all my visitors from abroad also, I introduced them as my distant relatives. Even to a very senior officer in Kerala police force, I introduced Dushtan as my nephew. Later in 2000, after I filed O.S.No.103/2000 to evict the Kudilan family from my house, this police officer told me that Dushtan went to him several times trying to cheat him, with some tall stories about owning 750 acres of cardamom estate etc. Once he went to him requesting the officer to sign some papers, any piece of legal paper and Dushtan would take over the rocks in the officer’s cardamom estate near Munnar and would do granite business. After talking to Dushtan it was clear to the officer that Dushtan did not know the ABC of granite business and his only aim was to get any piece of legal papers from the officer to have a foothold in his estate. At that stage the officer wanted to warn me or at least to say to me that if I had relatives like Dushtan I did not need enemies. Then he thought that I might not believe and hence the officer did not tell me anything. In 2000, after I filed the eviction case, several others, besides this officer, came to me with similar episodes and similar situations and they all hesitated to warn me against Dushtan thinking that I would not believe them.

Whenever I was in Ernakulam and whenever I went out of my house, either Paanchaali or Dushtan wanted to accompany me, pretending to be my helper, to keep company and pretending to be out of deep love and affection for me. I could not talk to anyone in my neighborhood or in Ernakulam without his or her presence. Only in 2000, when I looked back at the sequences of events, I realized that it was Kundi’s scheme and she asked Paanchaali or Dushtan to accompany me wherever I went. My neighbors interpreted their presence with me as reinforcement to the story that they were my close relatives and thus the neighbors got more convinced. Later in 2000, some of the neighbors told me that whenever I was in Canada the Kudilan family usually had wild parties in my house, the fellow who supplied liquor told me that in one of such parties he supplied Indian made foreign liquor to my house late in the night and the women (Kundi and Paanchaali) were preparing and serving fried meat with the liquor to the guests. They also told me that Dushtan could be seen all over the places with my car as soon as I left for Canada. They even thought how I could allow him to misuse my car like that even if he was my nephew. Several people even told me that my car was running in Ernakulam as a taxi for sometime.

Only one person was bold enough to ask me point blank. The wife of my colleague Professor Davis from Nagercoil came to visit my house at Ernakulam with a few of her lady friends from Nagercoil. These ladies were the richest folks in Nagercoil area. Dushtan was overly chummy with them and the whole Kudilan family was overly friendly to the ladies. Apparently the ladies, being worldly-wise, recognized that the affection shown was phony. Mrs Davis asked me point blank as to how could the Kudilan family be my relatives because in behavior, attitude, and temperament and in every respect they were completely different from me and she told me that the affection they showed to me was phony. Since Mrs Davis was known to be a straight-talking type I assumed that the Kudilan family did something to annoy the ladies. I still trusted the Kudilan family 100% in those days.

 

 

Attempts of starting various businesses: nurturing and feeding the snakes

 

Soon after the Kudilan family was brought to Ernakulam, Dushtan was asked to get training as a car mechanic. Apparently he tried. When I came back from Canada next time I was told that Dushtan tried at getting trained as a mechanic. But it was found that he was allergic to engine oil and his whole body was swollen and hence he had to give up that. Later in 2001 I came to know, that Dushtan had asked one of the workers at the house site, when my house was being built in 1985, whether he could get a job as an apprentice at the car garage owned by the worker’s sister and her husband, and the worker had talked to his sister and later in 1986 Dushtan was given a job as an apprentice at the garage and possibly they fired him for some reason later on. Hence it was a fact that Dushtan tried to become a car mechanic but the story about the allergy might not be true.

When he claimed that he wanted to do some other business of his own, I loaned him Rs 5,000/- on 15th August 1987 ( Exhibit A 10) to start the chilly business. The idea was to bring dried chilies through Kumaly area to Kerala from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. One of my direct nephews was stationed in Kumaly. I thought that Dushtan could join my nephew and do this dried chilly business. By December 1987 when I came back, I found that the money was finished in various trips and no business was done. They blamed each other for the failure. Then Dushtan suggested that there was good market for old coffee trees, especially for the root system of old coffee trees for decoration purposes. We went and saw an interior decorator in Edappally who had done many things with coffee wood and he was doing it commercially. Dushtan said that old coffee trees were available in Manathavadi area in Kozhikode in Kerala. Hence on 5th December 1987 I loaned him Rs 1,700/-, as estimated amount to bring one small pick-up truckload of old coffee trees (Exhibit A 10). A few trees were brought in but he claimed that police harassment was there at each check-post and he had to give bribe at each point, otherwise the police was going to hold the hired truck there. But the interior decorator would take the coffee trees only at a very low price because, according to him, the final product could not be sold at a big price. Thus, the business of bringing coffee trees from Manathavadi to Ernakulam was found to be not feasible financially. Thus that attempt was also a flop.

Then Dushtan wanted to do the business of exporting spices, Ayurvedic soap etc. For this purpose, one had to have a current bank account with loan guarantee, registration of a firm, licenses from Reserve Bank of India etc. Hence I went with Dushtan to my bank, State Bank of India at KTDC Building on Shanmugham Road in Ernakulam, and started a current account in Dushtan’s name by putting Rs 1,000/- and giving a loan guarantee of Rs 50,000/- on 20th March 1988 ( Exhibit A 10). A firm by the name Sreelatha Enterprises was registered. I paid for making the rubber stamps, seal etc and all expenses connected with the registration of the firm, for getting various certificates etc. My cousin, who was stationed in Chateauguay, Quebec, in Canada, was asked to make a feasibility study there in Canada. First item checked was Ayurvedic soap. It was found that Mysore sandalwood soap was already in the market there in Canada at a cheaper price than the price of the same soap in Kerala. Kerala sandalwood soap was available at that time but it was found to be adulterated. In no time the aroma disappeared and left with a big core of non-aromatic soap. Also, even the wholesale prices of other aromatic soaps available in Kerala were too high and hence they could not compete in Canada. Then Dushtan was asked to look into other items such as curry powder etc. But the prices Dushtan quoted were too high compared to the retail prices of similar and competing items available in Canada. Finally, nothing was exported and that business also folded.

 

 

A Homeo “doctor” curing incurable diseases

 

There was a homeo medical practitioner, who was famous for curing “incurable” diseases. There were lot of stories circulating in the countryside that he cured terminal cancer of many patients, who were abandoned by allopathic hospitals. Apparently his own driver was a wealthy man who owned a lot of land. This wealthy man’s daughter caught “cancer” (in all probability the symptoms were simulated by this homeo doctor through some of his medicines) and many doctors at the medical college hospitals etc treated her but they could not cure the cancer. Then this homeo “doctor” gave some medicines and the girl was cured! The father of the girl was so happy that this homeo “doctor” saved the life of his daughter and he donated most of his landed properties to this doctor and he became the doctor’s driver also. This doctor was a close friend of the Kudilan family when they were in Palai. They told me that this doctor used to go to the houses of very rich people and treat the rich patients at their own homes. Apparently he had a good number of rich clients. I used to get stomach upset whenever I reached back to India from Canada and drank the local water. One day Kudilan went to this doctor and explained my stomach upset problems and brought some of his medicines. My loose motion, which was a normal occurrence among people who return from abroad after a long stay abroad, was gone even before taking any medicine. Then after a few months this doctor visited my house at Edappally. While we were chitchatting this “doctor” all on a sudden stopped talking and with a sad face looked at me and asked whether he could feel my pulse. I extended my hand. After feeling my pulse for a while he said in a very sad voice that he was sad that he had to deliver very sad news to me. I jokingly told him not to worry about it and give the news. He told me in a very solemn voice that I had stomach cancer and that it was in an advanced stage and if he did not treat it fast it would be too late. I laughed at it and said that my philosophy was that whenever I felt sick I would seek cure and not beforehand. I did not feel any problem in my stomach and hence I would wait and see. I thought that he was joking about the cancer. He was supposed to be able to tell about stomach cancer by feeling the pulse!

This homeo doctor remembered Kudilan going to him and telling about my stomach upset and he had sent some medicine with Kudilan but I did not take any because my stomach upset was over by that time. He tried to use that information to extort money from me by diagnosing me with stomach cancer. He decided to cash in on his acquaintance with me. He used to invite me to his house cum dispensary. He had requested me to bring for him electronic equipment for taking pressure; a good stethoscope etc and I had brought these from abroad and donated to him. It was magical to the country patients that the doctor was using magical equipments to take their pressure, heartbeat, temperature etc and his prestige in the community went up. After many invitations, I decided to go to his place one day. He always wanted me to come on a Sunday. I thought that it was because he would be free on Sundays. On one Sunday I took my car and my driver drove from Ernakulam to his place. I had informed him earlier. When I neared his place I started seeing big crowd along the roadside and when I reached his house the courtyard and all surrounding areas were filled with people. I thought that the doctor had passed away. But the people were not mourning but they were in a happy mood and they were greeting me. I could not figure out the reason. When we drove into the courtyard the people smiled and politely gave way for the car to go in. The doctor and his wife came and received me by calling me loudly “doctor” and took me inside. We had lunch and when I was leaving also people were still there and greeting me while I was going out. Later, through neighbors around there, I learnt that the homeo doctor had informed all his patients that he was popular in America also and that one allopathic doctor from America would be coming to receive his treatment, all the way from America to his house. He had invited all his patients and acquaintances to come on that Sunday to see the allopathic practitioner doctor from America coming to receive his homeo treatment at his house. To the crowd there, I was the allopathic medical practitioner from America who came and got treatment from him and left.

In this connection I would like to narrate here about an incident with my younger brother and his “diagnosed” cancer. My brother used to get chest pain whenever he exerted by doing hard agricultural activities. The pain was something like poking with a thorn at the inside of the chest wall. He had gone to many allopathic, Ayurvedic (Indian herbal medicinal system) and homeo doctors but it was of no help. The pain continued. One local nun claimed that it was due to some growth near one of the veins going out of the heart and when the vein expanded due to heavy work then the growing part would prick the wall of the vein like a thorn. She used to give some herbal medicine and it used to alleviate the pain temporarily. Then my brother decided to go to the best-known private medical hospital at Manipal in South India and get examined by the experts there. He was examined, put through all sorts of tests including chest x-rays etc but they could not see any problem. Then after about 10 years the pain intensified. Then I decided to take him back to Manipal and this time I went to the chief of the cancer unit there and introduced myself. The chief ordered the best sequence of tests including body scanning and figured out that there was a growth near the heart. They took out a piece of the growth and sent to their laboratory for testing. After the test the chief told me that the test showed malignancy and my brother had terminal cancer and he would not live for more than six months. He recommended radiation therapy, and chemotherapy after that. The doctor claimed that the cancer was of recent origin and it was spreading fast. I told him that my brother had the same problem over 10 years by that time and hence his diagnosis was possibly wrong. But he said that he had years of experience in diagnosing and treating cancer and that he was correct. I did not tell my brother or any other relative about what the doctor had predicted that my brother had only a maximum of six months to live. On benefit of doubt, I asked my brother to go through the radiation therapy and thereafter the chemotherapy. He went for six out of the eight sessions of radiation therapy. By that time he was fully down, unable to walk or even go to the bathroom on his own. Then I decided to take him home. I did not believe in what the doctor had diagnosed. Then I thought that if the doctor was correct then it would be better to stay home and die rather than dying at Manipal hospital, which was very likely if I let him go through the remaining two sessions of radiation therapy. We took him home. I did not tell anyone what the doctor had told me. I told my brother to go back to the nun’s treatment and never go for radiation or chemotherapy again. This was about twenty years back and my brother is healthy and happy but having the same problem when he exerts too much and he is still alive.

 

 

Herbal soap business of a homeo doctor

 

The homeo doctor that I described above, and his brother-in-law, who was also a homeo doctor, one day came to my house at Edappally for a visit. The brother-in-law claimed that he came across a secret herbal formula to make an aromatic and medicinal Ayurvedic soap. He was doing it as a cottage industry. He already had a few sample cakes of soaps of various sizes with him. He had his company’s seal on the soap and the soap was wrapped in excellent quality wrapper with the name of his company imprinted on them. In color, the soap looked like a local brand of Ayurvedic soap called Chandrika but that local brand was very penchant in smell but this doctor’s soap was very mild in aroma and had a very pleasing smell. It was not heavily perfumed and I thought that the people abroad would like his brand of the new soap. He wanted me to invest Rs 50,000/- to mechanize the operation so that the soap cakes could compete in the markets locally as well as abroad. He had a complete chart of the ingredients needed, the cost estimate, make of the machines, from where they were available etc. He wanted me to invest on half-half basis. I investigated about the cost estimate, make of the machines, availability etc and found that all the information given by the brother-in-law was correct. I decided to loan him Rs 50,000/- under the doctor’s guarantee and Dushtan could also join in the business and what I needed was only my capital back, without interest, after a year or two. I did not want to be a part of running the operation. The doctor first hesitated to give an “I owe you” note for Rs 50,000/-. When he knew that if the note was not there then I was not going to lend the money, he signed a note on his letterhead and gave me. I gave Rs 50,000/- in cash.

When I was in Canada I got news from Dushtan that the doctor’s brother-in-law did not want Dushtan to be involved in the business. When I came back, the doctor came with a complete account book of operating expenses and the balance sheet. As per the balance sheet, almost Rs 50,000/- profit was already there. They wanted to expand the operations. They had invited me several times to go and see the operation. It was about 10 hours travel to that place and hence each time I made excuses. They always wanted me to telephone them before going to see the operation so that they could all be present along with the workers. Before I put any more money into the soap manufacturing, I decided to have a look at the small-time operation. One morning, I asked Dushtan to get ready to go with me to the place of soap making operation. I did not even tell him beforehand so that the news would not leak out to the doctors. We traveled all the way and finally reached the location. We found that he was renting a small hut for his and his family’s stay. Nobody was at home. The neighbors told me that the doctor and his family had gone to Delhi for a vacation and would be back only after a few weeks. I asked all the neighbors around about the soap making. They all said that there was no such thing. Even if he had kept the operation secret the smell would have been there and others would know. The area was very thickly populated. I found that he had no other operation at any other place either.

Then I was sure that there was no soap making. But I was wondering how he could make a pleasant smelling soap in various sizes, with beautiful wrappings, seal, emblem etc. Then I realized what he did. He made a seal of his own and printed beautiful wrapping papers etc. Then he took the local brand of Ayurvedic soap named “Chandrika” and steamed it a little until it could be remolded. Due to steaming the strong aromatic smell went away and the smell became aromatic and pleasant. Then on the semi-melted soap he put his own seals and wrapped in his own wrapping paper. Thus, his investment was only in the seal and wrapping paper. I came back home and wrote a letter to the doctor asking him to return my Rs 50,000/- right away and that I did not want to hear any explanation or any more story about the soap making operation. He hesitated for a few weeks and finally gave me the money back only because I had his “I owe you” note with me. I am sure that he had collected several Rs 50,000/- each from his rich clients or from his so called “patients” and I am sure that to his clients the soap business was still growing and the clients were still investing more and more in the allegedly fast growing business! Meanwhile the doctor’s brother-in-law and family were having luxurious vacations on these continuous investments. The doctor was creating the balance sheets and on paper the factory was growing every day.

There is also an interesting family connection between this homeo doctor and the Kudilan family. As per the revelations of Paanchaali, after they became caretakers of my house at Edappally, and later openly stated by Kundi and other members of Kudilan family also, Kundi’s youngest sister was the concubine of this homeo doctor. The relationship started when the girl was in her early teens, with the knowledge and blessing of her mother and elder sisters, and the doctor used to give the Kundi family a monthly stipend and more or less the family lived on this income. The relationship and the stipend were still continuing even in the year 2000 and the girl remained unmarried. When I visited this homeo doctor as per his repeated invitations, as mentioned earlier, Kundi, her younger married sister with her daughter and the youngest unmarried (spinster) sister were also there. The closeness shown by these women to this homeo doctor gave all indications that all the girls were very close to this doctor and the relationship was not platonic. Once when I visited the Kudilan family at Pala, just before bringing them to Ernakulam to my house, this homeo doctor was there in the house with the youngest sister of Kundi. That was the first time I met this doctor as well as Kundi’s youngest sister, and the Kudilan family introduced him to me as their family doctor. I did not pay much attention to it and I did not find anything strange with this doctor with Kundi’s youngest sister at that time.

Then later when the Kudilan family was in my house as servants and caretakers the fact was revealed to me about the relationship between this doctor and Kundi’s unmarried youngest sister. Then I recollected seeing both together at Kundi’s place when the doctor was already married with two children of his own. Apparently they had spent the night there on that day. Another incident also gave credence to the revelations about the relationship. Several years after the Kudilan family was in my house one day when I was at home Paanchaali informed me that her classmate would be coming to the city and the classmate would like to stay at my house for the night and whether I had any objection. I said that she could come and stay for the night. She turned up with her boyfriend. Both were active in the Young Communist Movement and they had come to the city with some routine organized agitation of the Communist Party in the city. I never expected that her classmate was coming with her boyfriend, that was unheard of in the society at that time. Since I did not want to use my house as a brothel, I told that if the boy was also going to stay overnight in my house then the boy had to stay in the guest room upstairs and the girl had to stay with Kundi downstairs. They agreed and stayed. When I got ready in the morning, I used to be ready by 5.30 am, I saw the boy and the girl coming out of my guest room upstairs. I asked Kundi why she let the girl go and stay with the boy in my guest room. She made an excuse saying that the girl went to wake him up at 5.30 am because they had to leave early. I got up at 4.30 am and I was sure that no girl went into that room after 4.30 am. Also I found out that the boy and the girl had come on another occasion earlier, when I was not in town, and stayed in my guestroom together as arranged by Kundi. When I scolded them for allowing such things in my house they all, including the couple, claimed that they were betrothed and soon to be married.

Then an embarrassing situation arose. A few years after this incident, I had to go to this fellow’s house for something. He was married by then. As customary, he asked his wife to serve tea for me. She brought the tea for me. I had forgotten the face of the girl who came and stayed in my house with this fellow. I assumed that it was the same girl because all of them told me at that time that they were betrothed and about to get married. I started a chitchat with the introduction that perhaps she knew me from Ernakulam and that she had stayed in my house. Suddenly it was embarrassing to the fellow and he showed sign language that it was not the same girl and I changed the topic to avoid a disastrous situation.

 

 

Manufacturing natural fertilizer

 

So far my help to Dushtan in starting various businesses was in terms of small amounts. Then Dushtan came with a blueprint of starting or taking over a natural fertilizer manufacturing operation. The ingredients were prawn waste, carbon waste and salt, which were all locally available. The plan sounded good and there was possibility of good profit and the project seemed to be feasible. I lent to him Rs 1.2 lakhs to start the fertilizer business (Exhibits A3, A45). I figured out that he would be self-supporting with this operation and he would be able to take his parents out of my house soon. His friend, Thomas, about whom I had explained earlier, was his partner in distributing what was produced in the factory. Thus Dushtan would be in charge of production and Thomas in charge of distribution. Trucks coming from Tamil Nadu and returning empty were available at a cheaper rate for transporting fertilizer to the northern parts of Kerala. Production started, one truckload of fertilizer was sent to northern parts of Kerala, mostly to the shops owned by the relatives of Thomas so that the money was guaranteed. Usually the shopkeepers did not pay for the shipment right away. They were to be given the product on credit for a month or two. Meanwhile they sold most of it and would pay the supplier. That was the practice. With a new product, the supplier had to give on full credit. For established products, the credit could be for a short time only. By that time my pick-up truck, that I recaptured as explained in section 1.6 above, was ready. I made that pick-up truck also available to the fertilizer operation so that they could transport the fertilizer without hiring trucks. Then I left for Canada. When I left for Canada the second truckload was ready to be transported to northern Kerala. When I came back from Canada next time I found that the fertilizer operation was closed. I asked Dushtan why such a profitable operation was closed. His explanation was that the money collected by Thomas was not returned to him and there was no capital to run the factory and some funds were yet to be collected from the shopkeepers etc.

Later in 2000 I learnt that during that time, he was friendly with the local bar owner and the bar owner suggested to Dushtan that the bar owners together were bringing bootlegged alcohol from Karnataka and they needed an efficient middleman to make the trucks with illegal alcohol cross the border. The middleman had to bribe the custom agents at the border and for every truck that crossed the border successfully there would be a commission of Rs 42,000/-. This was a more lucrative enterprise than making the fertilizer and selling. Hence Dushtan abandoned the profitable fertilizer business and went into bootlegging.

 

 

As foreman in my cousins’ factory: putting snake in the chicken coop

 

When all attempts of running businesses failed, I asked my cousin, who was the owner of TABA Gloves, a manufacturing and exporting firm, at the Cochin Export Zone, to appoint Dushtan as the foreman at his factory. I did not realize then that I was putting a snake in the chicken coop. He was appointed, and as per records, he worked as foreman from 1st April 1989 till 30th June 1992. Then all on a sudden one day he lost the job. His version of the event was the following: As foreman, he was asked by the Managing Director (my cousin) to arrange bread for girls at the night shift and tapioca for the boys at the night shift, for their snacks. But he, on his own, decided that all workers must have the same type of food and arranged bread for everyone. Then the Managing Director got angry and scolded Dushtan and in turn Dushtan resigned his job. I did not want to inquire about what happened at the factory. I thought, whatever be the reasons, he lost the job that was the net result. Only in the year 2000, after I instituted the eviction case to evict the Kudilan family from my house, my cousin told me the reasons for firing Dushtan from his factory. It had nothing to do with bread or tapioca, and as far as my cousin could remember there was no such controversy in the factory at all. When Dushtan was appointed as foreman, Dushtan started calling my cousin “uncle”. Since Dushtan was considered to be my dependent and since he called me “uncle”, my cousin did not mind at all. I had given a good certificate saying that Dushtan was trustworthy with money matters. With me, Dushtan always made sure to return the exact change whenever I sent him to buy anything even as small item as a cake of soap. Hence I assumed that he was very trustworthy. My cousin also trusted him and Dushtan became a very trusted employee. My cousin started entrusting him with large amounts of money for various transactions such as bringing two or three lakhs of rupees from merchants, sending him with two or three lakhs to give to other businessmen etc. Dushtan also proved to be extremely efficient. Dushtan became very popular among the workers, and in fact, it came to a stage that he was fully controlling the workers and he could order the workers to do anything. All the workers believed that Dushtan was in fact my cousin’s sister’s son and possibly heir apparent to the factory. Meanwhile, Dushtan had transported the workers in my own car, Ambassador KL7A3136, to my own house at Edappally and gave a big party to the workers at my house and all the workers were told that my car as well as my house belonged to Dushtan and I was only a distant relative of my cousin. This aspect my cousin came to know of before firing Dushtan. Then Dushtan started his manipulations to dislodge my cousin’s trusted accountant. That attempt backfired on him because the accountant foresaw what was happening and guarded himself against a possible attack on him before Dushtan’s attempt to take full control over the factory. According to Dushtan, the accountant had trapped him with some expense money for workers but Dushtan had exposed and caught the accountant red-handed but my cousin did not fire the accountant. He claimed that this was a second reason for his “resignation” from the factory!

By 1992 Dushtan became the contact man for TABA Gloves. He took advantage that my cousin’s two sons were youngsters and not old enough to enter into business and there was no other close relative to be at TABA. Then one day, my cousin happened to meet the top government official stationed at the Export Zone. While talking about some other matters the official told my cousin that his nephew, meaning Dushtan, had met him on several occasions and the official was informed that my cousin and Dushtan had jointly built the factory and that the nephew was staying in his own mansion at Edappally. Then my cousin checked with some other officials at the Zone. It was found that Dushtan had already met everyone and told the same story of my cousin and Dushtan jointly owning the factory. Then my cousin checked Dushtan’s office and desks, when he was not present, and found copies and originals of many documents connected with the factory. Then my cousin immediately fired Dushtan, stating some other reasons. Even now, Dushtan is under the impression that my cousin never knew what he was planning to do at the factory. My cousin thought of informing me and warning me about Dushtan, then he thought that I would not believe him and our relationship would be spoiled because I had so much trust on Dushtan at that time.

 

 

Trying to marry into riches

 

The chief chemical analyst at my cousin’s factory, an M.Sc graduate and from a very rich family, fell in love with Dushtan thinking that Dushtan was my cousin’s real nephew and heir apparent to the factory or Dushtan managed to entice her to marry him. Apparently, Dushtan made the proposal or suggestion to the girl and the girl agreed. As per the information supplied by the girl, that Dushtan was the heir apparent to the factory, the girl’s family also agreed to the proposed marriage. Then his plan was to marry the girl and settle in my house. Usually in Kerala, if the real background of the boy was known only after the marriage then the girl’s family would tolerate and accept the boy so that the girl’s life would be happier. Dushtan wanted the blessing from my cousin and me so that later he could claim that we were also part of the plan to cheat the girl’s family by getting her married to Dushtan. I told him that he could marry whomever he pleased but he should find a place of his own and settle with his wife in his own house and nobody would be allowed into my house except as invited guests whenever I invited them into my house. If he got married to the girl and if the girl’s family accepted him then Kundi’s plan of capturing my house and properties would be fully spoiled. Paanchaali did not want another woman in Dushtan’s life in place of her. Thus both Kundi and Paanchaali opposed the proposed marriage. Then Dushtan realized that it would be a foolish idea to get married to that girl and his plan was dropped.

 

 

Cashing in on my friendship

 

Soon after Dushtan got fired from my cousin’s factory, Dushtan started the borrowing business to keep up his life-style that he had developed while at the factory. He spent all the money that he received from the factory, on himself. Dushtan decided to take advantage of the relationship that they established with me. He thought of cashing in on the established friendship. One day, by chance, I decided to drop in at my friend’s furniture shop at Kaloor bus stand in Ernakulam. I came to the town by bus and I was alone. This furniture shop owner was an engineer, who did not want to pursue a life of bribe taking as an engineer. He decided to quit his job and start a furniture business of his own. He had supplied all the furniture in my house. I had brought some photographs and books with pictures of furniture in Sansussi Palace of East Germany and the owner of this shop had good carvers to hand-carve furniture in teakwood, very similar to the ones in Sansussi Palace. While talking to him he said that my nephew, meaning Dushtan, had come and borrowed Rs 7,000/- from him claiming that the money from me from Canada got delayed and they needed some money urgently. Then I was sure that his next target would be Mrs Davis and the society ladies from Nagercoil who visited my house once, when I saw Dushtan being overly friendly to them. I immediately wrote to Mrs Davis saying that the fellow Dushtan was not my direct nephew but only a distant relative as per their claim and I came to know that he borrowed money from one of my friends in Ernakulam at my back and without my permission. Hence to tell her friends from Nagercoil also that if Dushtan came there asking for funds, whatever be the reason he would be putting forward, never to give any money. When I reached home I called Dushtan and asked why he borrowed money from the furniture shop owner at Kaloor. First he pretended that he did not remember and then he said that when they supplied the furniture to my house they overcharged and hence he decided to collect back what he thought was the amount overcharged. This was a ridiculous argument and I scolded him and he apologized profusely and said that he would never do such things again. His mother Kundi was the first one to scold him after me and others followed one by one. This was a high drama because apparently all were behind the borrowing.

 

 

Acquiring land in Tamil Nadu

 

During that time he was trying to locate some empty land in Tamil Nadu, so that the whole Kudilan family could move there and do agriculture. He went and visited some pieces of land. He also claimed that some Keralites were there nearby, who became very rich from agriculture. Initially I had an intention of helping him to buy the land. The immediate incident, which dissuaded me from advancing any money for buying the land, was his borrowing money from the furniture shop owner at my back. The second reason was that by that time I had planted coconut trees in my adjoining lot at Edappally. The trees were growing and I never saw any sign in Dushtan trying to learn agriculture or to learn about things to be done to look after coconut trees. He was supposed to be building up a coconut garden in the land to be acquired in Tamil Nadu. The third reason was that his aim was to arrange a big loan from the government agency NAFED or something like that and use that money to develop the land to be acquired in Tamil Nadu. I had a gut feeling that his eyes were on this fund rather than building up a coconut garden. Hence I decided not to advance any money for acquiring the land and not to go to Tamil Nadu to see the land. I was planning to go one day to see the proposed land, and this land was supposed to be having a lot of ground water supply also.

 

 

Attempt to grab funds from society ladies in Nagercoil

 

When I visited Nagercoil next time I asked Mrs Davis whether Dushtan had come there and asked for funds. She said that my letter was received in time; otherwise she and her friends would have given Dushtan large amounts of funds. She said that soon after she received my letter warning about Dushtan, he appeared in Nagercoil. He went and stayed in the most expensive hotel there and called Mrs Davis from the hotel saying he was my nephew calling from such and such hotel and whether he could go and see her. She invited him and at the same time called and warned all her lady friends in Nagercoil area about the arrival of Dushtan in town. Dushtan went to Mrs Davis’ house and told her a tall story saying that he had already acquired a large acreage of land in Tamil Nadu and he had already arranged a big grant cum loan from NAFED and until the funds were received he needed a few lakhs for sinking well and putting water pipe networks for the coconut garden etc. She said that she did not have that type of money or any amount to spare as unaccounted loan (vaipa). When I came back to Ernakulam I asked Dushtan whether he had gone and stayed in the most expensive hotel and whether he had gone to Mrs Davis asking for funds. He admitted that he stayed in the hotel and that he had gone to Mrs Davis but his story was the following: After seeing and locating the land in Tamil Nadu he decided to go to Nagercoil to talk to the coconut scientists at Haldane Research Center to learn more about coconut growing techniques. (For that purpose he did not have to go to Nagercoil. He could have simply asked me for getting the technical know-how). When he reached Nagercoil, it was already night, and he went into the nearest hotel that he could find. He never knew that it was the most expensive one. When he went to visit Haldane Research Center, he visited Mrs Davis but flatly denied that he ever asked for money from Mrs Davis. Professor Davis established this Haldane Research Center. I was the Chairman of the governing council of this Center, and after Professor Davis passed away, Mrs Davis was looking after the land and buildings belonging to the Center, which were also private properties of the Davis family. Dushtan was aware of all these facts. Thus by timely intervention I avoided the disaster of Dushtan borrowing big amounts from Mrs Davis and her friends.

Another possible target at that time was the owner of Alapattu Jewelry on Broadway, Ernakulam. I had introduced Dushtan and Paanchaali as my relatives to the owner of the jewelry shop. So I went to Alapattu Jewelry also and talked to the owner casually and told him never to lend any money to anyone who came asking for funds and claiming to be my relatives. I never checked with him later whether Dushtan had approached him for funds or not. In the year 2001, while talking to the servers at Alapattu Jewelry on Broadway the servers told me that they had bought some paintings from John (not real name), the foreigner husband of Paanchaali. John’s business was selling paintings on commission basis. The servers thought that Dushtan was taking advantage of my friendship with the owner and overcharging the owner. Since the owner of Alapattu Jewelry shop found the paintings attractive he paid to the tune of over Rs 30,000/- on each painting, which John would have sold in the normal course for Rs 4,000/- or 5,000/-. The phrase the servers used to describe Dushtan was that they thought he was a tharikada alavalathy (small time hoodlum) and all of the servers wondered how he could be my relative!

Later, after the eviction suit was filed in 2000 to evict the Kudilan family from my house I came to know that Dushtan had borrowed Rs 2 lakhs from my former student who was a close family friend, Rs 1 laks from his cousin through him, Rs 1 lakh from another close friend of mine who was also a professor at Bharata Matha College at Thrikkakara, Ernakulam. They all gave the amounts thinking that Dushtan was a loyal and faithful nephew of mine and if there was any undue delay in returning the amounts, then they could ask me to order Dushtan to return the funds. They never expected that the Kudilan family were such ungrateful people. As far as I know these people have not yet received any part of their amounts back.

 

 

The story about Kudilan owning land in Meenachil Village

 

By the end of 1985 or early 1986 they claimed that they had a few cents of vacant land on the south side of Meenachil River, where there was no convenient road, and that they sold it and got Rs 10,000/-. First they claimed to have 10 cents of land and later it became 35 cents. Paanchaali’s letter also claimed that this Rs 10,000/- was also given to the contractor. I refunded that money soon after, and told them that if they came across any money then put it in a fixed deposit in their names and keep. Later they claimed to have got another Rs 10,000/- and more and then Rs 20,000/- ( Exhibit B4 Series ). I asked her to put the Rs 20,000/- in fixed deposit in her name and she claimed that she did. From later developments it was clear that they were separating small amounts from what I had put in her account for making payments to the contractor. Then by 1986 they claimed that the contractor came and asked for money stating that it was an emergency and they cancelled the fixed deposit and gave Rs 20,000/- to the contractor. I scolded her and gave the Rs 20,000/- back. Incidentally, in the accounts the contractor had presented as the details of money received by him this Rs 20,000/- was not there. By that time the relationship between the contractor and me had worsened and hence I could not double-check with him. I have a feeling that there was no such payment to the contractor and that amount was also cheated out of me. When I recorded this Rs 20,000/- in my account book in 1986 ( Exhibit A10 (d )) I had suspicion about this and hence in my account book I had recorded at that time that Paanchaali “claimed” to have given to the contractor. From land sale records obtained by me and filed in the Sub Court at Ernakulam in 2002 it was found that the whole story of Rs 10,000/- and then Rs 20,000/- was a falsehood. It was found in 2002, when I obtained certified copies of all land sale records relating to Kudilan family, that 35 cents of vacant land was donated to Kudilan by the Diocese of Palai because Kudilan did not have even one cent of land to put up his own hut after retirement. But after retirement in 1980, his pension was only Rs 202/- per month ( Exhibit B1 ) and he could not make ends meet. As a result, he started selling his vacant land 5 cents at a time and sold all the 35 cents and got a grand total of Rs 6,700/- only. Further, there was no land sale in 1985 when Paanchaali wrote saying that they got Rs 10,000/- from land sale in October 1985. Thus, even before moving into my house they cheated me Rs 30,000/-

 

 

Paanchali’s marriage to a foreigner

 

As soon as the Kudilan family moved into my house I had already told Kudilan to start looking for a suitable boy for Paanchaali. The custom in Kerala, India, was still arranged marriages, arranged by the parents. Each time I asked, he claimed to be looking and said that the prospective boy’s people were asking in lakhs as dowry. I told him to look for some one of his status and I would pay up to Rs 50,000/- (fifty thousand) for marriage expenses in total. Once he said that one of the Chakkolas (one of the richest businessmen in Ernakulam) was interested to marry her if I would give half of my house as dowry. That was the first time that I heard of “half of my house” being demanded. I told him that he was crazy and no part of the house was going to be given to anyone and asked him again to look for a boy of his status, at a total marriage expenses of Rs 50,000/-. While this search was going on the foreigner John came into the picture.

John (not his real name), a French Canadian and resident of Montreal Nord Township, a devotee of Hare Krishna Movement, was a regular air ticket buyer at Tina’s travel agency in Montreal. Tina was my aunt’s daughter who migrated to Canada. John was very much interested to marry an Indian girl. He had already spent more than 10 years of his life for the Hare Krishna Movement, according to him. His Indian dream girl was an ideal housewife, devoted wife, an ever-loving wife, chaste wife, who would worship the spots where her husband’s feet touched. He asked Tina whether she could find an Indian girl for him and arrange a marriage. He knew that in India almost all marriages were arranged marriages at that time. John was persistent and he was coming to her almost daily with this request. Then she had an idea. Why not arrange John to get married to one of the daughters of her elder sister in India. Her elder sister has many children including five daughters. Out of these five daughters the eldest one was probably married by 1991-1992. The next one did not have much education. The third girl had pre-degree level education, she was average looking or slightly above average and she was twenty four to twenty five years old by that time. Hence Tina decided to ask her elder sister to allow the third daughter to get married to John if John liked her and if her elder sister and the girl liked John also. Tina got the consent from her elder sister and the family to start the steps and then called me to Trivandrum, India, from Montreal. I was at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences at that time spending part of my sabbatical leave in India. Tina described John over the phone to me and said that John did not smoke, did not take alcoholic drinks or drugs and was a pure vegetarian, not even taking egg. He was in the Hare Krishna Movement and that he worshipped Indian women and he would be a good match to the third daughter of her elder sister and whether I could take John to Kadanad, her sister’s place, if she sent John to Trivandrum. I agreed to take him to Kadanad if he came to Trivandrum.

Then one day when I was at Ernakulam on a Friday, Dushtan had just come back from Delhi a couple days before. He had gone to Delhi to meet an advocate there to arrange a bail for his friend Thomas, who was convicted of murder and given life imprisonment, and about whom I had described earlier. Dushtan told me that he met a French Canadian called John while traveling in train from Mathura in UP to Delhi. Apparently John was going to Delhi after visiting the Hare Krishna Headquarters at Krishna’s birthplace Mathura and he was planning to come to Trivandrum to meet one Dr A.M. Mathai at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences. John also told Dushtan that he was coming to Kerala with the hope of meeting and marrying a girl from Kerala, namely one of the daughters of Tina’s elder sister. Both Dushtan and John were speaking broken English in those days. Dushtan told John that Dushtan and his family were staying at Dr Mathai’s house at Ernakulam and that John would be staying with them when he came to Dr Mathai’s house at Ernakulam. Dushtan told me that John was coming to marry Tina’s elder sister’s third daughter and most probably the marriage would take place within a few weeks. From the developments later on, it was clear that Dushtan had already decided that John would be a good catch for Paanchaali and he had talked to his parents and Paanchaali and they were all waiting to entice John as soon as he came to Ernakulam and before meeting Tina’s sister’s daughter. In India, especially in Kerala, there was a general concept that every foreigner (white) tourist was a multimillionaire and loaded with money. They thought that Paanchaali would have a millionaire husband and Dushtan knew by that time that Paanchaali would obey Dushtan and not her husband and would divert her husband’s wealth to him. Kudilan and Kundi thought that they would be filthy rich soon.

When I came to Ernakulam the Kudilan family wanted to know more about John. I told them that I never met John and I did not know him but according to Tina, John was a fine individual. When I was in Ernakulam, on that Friday evening itself, I got a phone call from the Centre at Trivandrum saying that one John came to the office to see me and they put him in the train to Ernakulam and the train would reach Ernakulam by 9 pm. Dushtan drove my car and we went to the Ernakulam North Railway Station. Since Dushtan already knew John, Dushtan introduced John to me. This was the very first time that I met John. After a day of rest, I was planning to take him to Kadanad to meet the girl on that Sunday. But by Sunday morning John wanted to relax a few days more and wanted to meet the girl only by the next weekend. I asked him to stay at my house, relax, go around and see Ernakulam and surrounding areas and, as scheduled, on Monday morning itself I went to Trivandrum to return on the next Friday.

From the copies of the correspondences between John and Paanchaali, that John gave me in 2000 (some of them are Exhibits A24, A25, A26, A27, A28), I came to know that during that first week itself the marriage between Paanchaali and John was fixed by her parents and brother and hid the information from me so that nothing should go wrong. It was also clear from these letters that Paanchaali was allowed to have physical contact with John during that week when I was in Trivandrum. I came back the next Friday and on that Saturday morning I took John to Kadanad. Dushtan drove my car. John met the girl and did not want to know more about the girl or about her background. He told me, there itself, that he did not like the girl. I thought that genuinely he did not like the girl. From the letters Paanchaali wrote to John in Montreal, before marriage, it was clear that Paanchaali was allowed to have close physical contact with John and he was fully enticed by her and they had already fixed up the marriage with Paanchaali. Due to Kudilan family’s specific instructions, John did not want to tell me about it. Then John left for Canada. I had also returned to Montreal.

When I was in Montreal the Kudilan family informed me that Paanchaali and John liked each other and that they would like to get married and Dushtan and her parents were all in favor. They even told me that it was God’s destiny and told the following story: I did not know whether the story was correct or not because they always made up a story for every occasion. Most probably the story was untrue. The story went like this: When Paanchaali was very young a European couple visited Palai. This couple liked Paanchaali so much and wanted to buy Paanchaali and persuaded her parents to give them Paanchaali saying that the European couple did not have children of their own and they would bring her up as their child and give her all their properties which were millions and millions worth. But the parents did not want to give her to the Europeans couple but thought that one day Paanchaali would go and stay in Europe. [From the developments later on, it was very clear that if there were such an offer to the parents, the parents would have definitely cashed in on it]. Therefore John was sent by God for Paanchaali and that the marriage agreement was done in heaven. They wanted my help to meet the marriage expenses. I agreed and I was glad that she would be out of my house. She was the biggest burden for her parents and brother. I thought that after Paanchaali was out then Dushtan would be finding a job soon and taking the parents out also. I had already planned for three alternative arrangements to look after my house. One was my father’s sister’s grandsons, another was Tina’s sister’s sons, and another was Tina’s husband’s poor brother-in-law and sister from Karnataka. In fact I had already indicated to Tina’s husband to tell his brother-in-law and sister to get ready to move into my house at Ernakulam in another year’s time.

The marriage was fixed for May of 1992, because I would be back in India only by May, or April at the earliest. From the letters shown to me by John in 2000 I learnt that Paanchaali wrote at the persuasion of Dushtan saying that John had to fulfill some Kerala customs and hence had to come early with lots of money. Apparently before that Paanchaali, in one her premarital love letters, asked John to by shirts for her brother, father and presents and for others. In another letter she persuaded him to buy gold and bring to India. If I told him already that it was illegal to import gold into India never to worry about it because if there would be any problem at the customs at Bombay just call Dushtan and he would take care of everything!

As per their request John came to India much earlier, and stayed in my house in the same guest room that I had allowed him to use when he visited the first time. When they informed that they had fixed up the marriage between Paanchaali and John, I had written to them saying that John should be asked to go for a medical checkup and bring to India a medical certificate saying that he had no communicable diseases including AIDS because, being a foreigner, one was not sure about AIDS. I had also told them to tell John to bring a certificate from his Catholic parish church in Montreal Nord saying that he was never married before, because I never knew about John’s background except the recommendation from Tina saying that he was a gentleman, straight forward, innocent and a very decent man in every respect. John had brought these two certificates with him when he came for the marriage. The Kudilan family was so eager to trap John and get him married to Paanchaali. They would have done it even if he was married before and divorced, even if he was not of good character but as long as he was loaded with money.

When John reached Ernakulam, the Kudilan family explained about the “customs in Kerala”. They told John that, as per the customs prevailing among Syrian Christians in Kerala, the bridegroom had to buy a lot of gold for the bride as well as for every member of the bride’s family. The real custom is the other way around and the family members of the bride do not come into the picture either. Only from the circular that John sent out to the neighbors in Edappally in 2000, I came to know that they had cheated John to the tune of more than Rs 2 lakhs before the marriage also in the name of buying gold to fulfill the so-called Syrian Catholic custom! Dushtan took Paanchaali and John to Alapattu Fashion Jewelry on Broadway, Ernakulam. Apparently Dushtan took out my car and they went in my car. John bought big gold chains for Dushtan, Dushtan’s mother, Dushtan’s father, gold rings for Dushtan and all sorts of gold ornaments for Paanchaali including a gold waist band (aranjanam) and totaling over Rs 2 lakhs. John was also asked to buy a lot of clothes for every member of the Kudilan family. When I came to India, I bought the traditional wedding sarees, gold chains and rings etc. I also made arrangements to have a vegetarian wedding lunch at Bharat Tourist Home, flower arrangements, video sessions etc. Even though I had promised that I would help them to the tune of Rs 50,000/- in connection with the marriage the total spent by me in this regard was around Rs 1 lakh ( Exhibits A41, A42 Series).

The marriage was celebrated in style, possibly the most expensively done marriage ever in Kudilan or Kundi’s families so far. For the honeymoon couple, the bedroom at the northwest corner of the ground floor in my house was given. Paanchaali in her divorce petition claimed in February 2000 that the marriage was not consummated for six months. John revealed to me that what Paanchaali said was an utter lie. On the wedding night itself they had sexual intercourse. He could not penetrate fully and on the second night he achieved full penetration. They went for a honeymoon trip to Ootty. There was an interesting story that no good hotel would give them a room seeing a local girl with a white man. The hotel owners thought that the girl (Paanchaali) was a prostitute. Then finally they had to settle for a cheap, dirty rundown hotel for their stay. According to John, they had sexual intercourse almost every night starting from the wedding night until John returned after a few weeks due to the sudden demise of his father. The letters written by Paanchaali to John, soon after the return of John to Montreal, which were produced in the Courts, reveal that the marriage was a happy one and she was anxiously waiting for her husband to return. In those letters, her mother Kundi was calling John “sugar-sugar”, she was calling him sugar, honey “sugargane” (sugarcane), “husband”, “brother” (?), everything. Mother was claiming that she had affection for John. If the girl had sexual dissatisfaction with her new husband she would have definitely revealed the matter to her mother and the tone of the letters would have been completely different.

Only after the marriage I came to know what John was really doing for a living. One of his brothers was a railway employee and he was retired, another brother had a small pawnshop in a flea market [In the outskirts of big city centers in north America, hawkers get together and establish a type of shopping area known as flea markets]. John himself was a salesman dealing in paintings. He would buy paintings from Montreal area flea markets and at wholesale prices. Then he would go and persuade shopping complex owners, big business owners etc to buy his paintings. He made some profits when there was a sale. This was his only source of income. Apparently he was not a taxpayer because he never used to have taxable income and most probably he had no bank account either. He had saved some money from this salesman’s job and a good portion of his savings was used to buy gold for Kudilan family before the marriage to fulfill the so-called “Syrian Christian customs in Kerala”. By using the balance of his savings he bought a trailer home and set it up in a trailer park outside Montreal East. Trailer home is a mobile home which can be carried around and pulled by a good car or by a pick-up truck and it could be located in a trailer park or mobile home park. These parks are privately owned. The park is divided into plots and at the center of each plot there is provision for water, electricity and sewage connections. Trailer home is built on a steel or aluminum frame, with fully equipped bedrooms, living room, kitchen, dining area and a bathroom. The rooms are usually made of aluminum and the roof is also usually made of lightweight material.

Once the trailer is parked in a trailer park it functions like a regular home, and the park owner has to be given a rent for using the plot as well as for the electricity, water, and sewage connections. Telephone and cable facilities are also there. Trailer home is the cheapest form of housing units in Canada, then comes apartments in an apartment building called condominiums, then comes 8-plexes (one house with 8 units together under one roof), then four-plexus, then duplexes, townhouses and then comes single unit dwellings. Single unit dwellings are usual houses on individual plots that we know of in Ernakulam area. People, who cannot afford any of the different types of houses described above, go for renting apartments on monthly rental basis. Town houses are like single unit houses except that they usually do not have courtyards on the sides. The sides are joined with the next town houses in a long row. Most of the time the roofs are also common. Usually there is a little courtyard at the front and back. There is also a monthly fee to be paid for common facilities, something like a monthly rent.

John had bought and set up a trailer home in one of the trailer parks. This was the only house of their own that Paanchaali lived in Canada. Paanchaali got pregnant during John’s return after his first departure due to his father’s demise. Soon after marriage, John had sponsored Paanchaali for an immigrant visa. Finally the visa came when she was about to deliver. When she reached Montreal and when she came out of the airport, John said that according to the French Canadian customs, John and his mother had to go to the girl’s house and receive the girl from there. Since Paanchaali had no home or relatives in Canada they wanted first to go to my house and then receive the girl from there and then go to the new trailer home. All his relatives, who came to the airport, left for the trailer home and we went to my house. I had informed my wife earlier that I would be coming on that day. It was a surprise to my wife that Paanchaali, John and John’s mother accompanied me home. John explained the French Canadian custom and Paanchaali was received by John and his mother from me and my wife, and from my home. John and his relatives had a homecoming party for Paanchaali. John and his mother wanted my wife and I to go to their party. Since there was no prior invitation, my wife made excuses. I decided to go, otherwise there would be none from Paanchaali’s side at the party. I took my car and followed them to their trailer home and took part in the party. They had video sessions also at the function.

I had already told Paanchaali that after reaching Montreal, if she needed anything she could call me in the office and John could also call me in the office at any time. But nobody should call home for simply chitchatting because my wife did not like that. But they could call me at home also if there was anything that important. The Kudilan family did not want John to have any contact with me in Montreal. The reason was simple. From the very beginning itself they planned to extract as much as possible from John and if he had any contact with me then their plan would not work. When the baby was born, John called me and informed that a son was born to them. Paanchaali wanted the baby to have her father’s name. This was neither a custom in India nor in Canada. In India, among the Syrian Christians, usually the paternal grandfather’s name is given but not the maternal grandfather’s name to the firstborn son. My wife and I went to the hospital and saw the mother and baby and gave some presents also.

 

 

First attempt to destroy my family life

 

Whenever John had some parties in connection with Christmas or birthdays he used to invite my wife and me. But my wife did not want to go at all and made excuses. I went to a total of two or three parties. Later in 2000, after I instituted the case to evict the Kudilan family from my house, my wife told me the real reason why she did not want to have anything to do with Paanchaali. Apparently one day John, Paanchaali and the baby went to my house when I was in the office, and uninvited. They could have gone there after informing or after getting an invitation or during weekends when I would be at home. Paanchaali purposely did it as per instructions from her mother and brother in India. My wife received them and made tea for them. After having tea, John was busy with the baby, showing him around in the house. Then Paanchaali took my wife to the back patio in the courtyard and talked about her family, claiming that they were very rich, had their own house, they were close relatives of mine, they had elephants of their own, they had fleets of trucks etc. Then she told my wife that I had many girlfriends in India and she should not let me go to India anymore and I even had another wife and children in India and so on. She was definitely acting as per instructions from her mother and brother. She wanted to saw the seed of distrust between my wife and me. They also calculated that if my wife put obstacles for my visits to India then I might stop coming to India and my house in India could be taken over by them.

A few days after their visit, my wife started indirectly asking me whether I had another wife and children in India. I told her that there were no such things. She started saying why not give up the Directorship in India so that I did not have to go to India very often. I told her that whatever I could do to help to build up a good research center at Trivandrum I would try my level best to do that. At least I could do that much for my country of birth because I had the knowledge and capability to do that if the State Government of Kerala was going to help me with the finances. Only casually she mentioned one day that John, Paanchaali and the baby visited home one day. I asked her whether they enjoyed her specialty the coconut cream pie. She said that they enjoyed and that John was a very decent individual. After that visit my wife did not want to visit Paanchaali, John and the child anymore. Each time John invited us for some parties my wife made excuses. She did not tell me the real reason. She told me the real reason only after I filed the suit in 2000 to evict the Kudilan family from my Edappally house.

John or Paanchaali never used to call me either in the office or at home. I assumed that they were busy trying to make some money or he might be taking her and the child along with him while going for his salesman’s work. He used to go to other towns in Quebec Province as well as to other nearby provinces.

Then one day, Dr Pushpathadom’s wife called me in the office. Dr Joseph Pushpathadom, originally from near Palai from near my family house in Kerala, was a professor in one of the French colleges in Montreal area. We used to call each other for social visits. She requested me to drop in to their place on my way home because they wanted to clear some doubts with me. I dropped in on my way home from my office. Dr Pushpathadom and Mrs Pushpathadom were in a Malayalee (Malayalam, the language of Kerala, speaking people) get together party during that weekend. I usually did not go for such parties because there were two groups of Malayalees in the Montreal area and I had told both the groups that unless they joined and worked together I would not be participating in any of the functions arranged by any of the two groups. Pushpathadoms told me that they met Paanchaali and John in that party. Mrs Pushpathadom was eager to talk to Paanchaali, hearing that she was my distant relative. Paanchaali told Mrs Pushpathadom that she heard about me, did not know me well and not related to me, and she did not even know Tina, who was responsible for sending John to Kerala resulting in her getting married to John. It was a shock to hear such a version. She told me that either Paanchaali was not a nice girl or she had the false pride of being the wife of a white foreigner. But in the same party there was another girl from Kerala, who also married a French Canadian and settled in Montreal area. This French Canadian was a worker at the Idukki Hydro-Electric project at Moolamattom in Kerala, India, sponsored by the Canadian Government. When this French Canadian worker was at the project, he fell in love with the daughter of a common local laborer at the project. They got married. The French Canadian took his wife to Montreal. They were happily settled and they had three children. They went to Moolamattom very frequently and the fellow had helped the girl’s poor relatives in India and all were well off then, and leading very happy lives. This family was part of the Malayalee community in Montreal area. Later Tina also independently told me the story of Paanchaali’s behavior at the Malayalee party. I could not figure out why Paanchaali was saying that she did not even know Tina and she only heard about me. I assumed that it was the result of false pride.

Later in 2000 I came to know from a common friend in Ernakulam that the first thing Paanchaali did when she reached Montreal, as per instructions from her brother and parents, was to estimate the real financial worth of John. She had already informed her brother and parents that John was not a millionaire and he was only a salesman and not even a big businessman. She estimated his real worth to be about Rs 20 lakhs including their trailer home, his equipped van, his paintings, camera etc. Her estimate was correct because in the year 2000 when she filed for divorce from John in the Kerala High Court, the estimated real worth of John was only Rs 22 lakhs. She had requested my friend to ask me whether I would sell my house at Ernakulam for Rs 20 lakhs because Paanchaali could buy it and John would have Rs 20 lakhs to buy it. Since my friend knew that I did not build the house for selling and that I would not sell for Rs 20 lakhs he did not even mention the episode to me but revealed this incident only after I filed the suit for evicting them from my house in the year 2000. This incident revealed that they had an eye on my house as early as 1993. Later developments would reveal that the purpose of the marriage was only to cheat John out of his life-savings so that she could live with her brother in luxury in India.

 

 

Manufacturing of rocking chairs

 

John used to come to India, during the wintertime in Canada, and spend nearly six months in Kerala. During winter months, he would not be able to do door-to-door sales of paintings in Canada. John wanted to do something while in India. He started to do some writings about his philosophy of life etc. After seeing a part of his writings, I knew that he would not become a good writer. I suggested to him to do some handicraft because he was good at handy work and he had the aptitude also. In Montreal areas, especially in French Canadian homes, there were a number of different types of rocking chairs. Such rocking chairs, if manufactured and distributed in Kerala, would have a good market. I suggested to him to bring a sample of light-weight wooden rocking chair to Kerala, buy or bring electric saw and other equipments and spend his leisure time in India making such chairs as a hobby and sell and make good money. He liked the idea. He selected the least complicated model and brought a whole chair to Kerala when he came next time. My suggestion was to do the whole manufacturing by John himself by using local wood. After deducting the cost for the wood he would be able to sell at a reasonable price and make a good profit or a good income for his labor in making the chairs.

When I came back next time I found that Dushtan had already registered a company under his own single ownership and took patent himself for manufacturing the chair. The Kudilan family did not want people to see John, Paanchaali’s white foreigner husband, doing any manual labor of making the chairs. Hence they hired carpenters to do the work. The daily wages of carpenters were unreasonably high in Kerala and the amount of work done was extremely very little. Without even doing much of a calculation it was clear that no profit could be made if the chairs were made by using hired carpenters. By the time I came back, the money that John invested was already finished. Then all of them requested me to lend them Rs 2 lakhs so that they could continue manufacturing the chairs. Now Dushtan made Paanchaali a partner in the firm and reregistered as a partnership firm so that more money could be extracted from John. I estimated the cost per chair would be more than Rs 2,000/- per chair and nobody would buy a wooden, ugly looking, chair for over Rs 2,000/-. I told them that it was foolish venture unless John himself did all the work. Then they said that they would buy a sawing cum sanding machine, locally made, and John would do the work by himself. Then I lent Rs 2 lakhs ( Exhibit A 24 ). They bought the machine and set it up before I returned to Canada. Next time when I came back to India I realized that they still did not want John to work on the machine, they hired a machine operator, made about 50 or 60 chairs, the production cost was running over Rs 3,000/- per chair, the money was all finished and some 50 finished chairs and a few pieces of cut pieces of wood remained. The manufacturing of rocking chairs collapsed naturally.

 

 

John trying to build a house in Edappally

 

John’s routine was the following: He would do his salesmanship in Canada from late April until the end of November or early December. Then he and his family (Paanchaali and child) would come to Kerala, stay in my house as my guests and return to Canada by April. The Kudilan family suggested to John to buy a building plot in Edappally and build a house of their own in Edappallly. This idea was there even before marriage. One of the love letters, written by Paanchaali to John before their marriage and which was produced in Court in 2000, revealed that she had requested him to buy a building plot in Edappally and build a house for her and her family. John and the Kudilan family started looking for a plot in Edappally. They made an offer for a neighboring plot to buy. But someone overbid and they did not get it. Finally, when they could not locate a plot, they came to me asking whether I could donate my adjoining plot to John so that John could build a house right away because if a plot was located then John was going to sell his trailer home in Montreal and transfer the money to Ernakulam. This money plus his money already in the State Bank of India at Ernakulam would be sufficient to build a small house of their own so that the whole family could move out of my house. I talked to John and asked specifically whether he would have sufficient funds to build a house right away if I gave the land free. He gave the assurance that he would build the house within a year if I gave the plot. I asked Dushtan to talk to the advocates to see whether I could transfer my plot to John. After a few days he came and told me that the advocates told him that John, being a foreigner, could not own properties in India and hence I had to transfer in the name of his wife Paanchaali. I did not have any reason to disbelieve him at that time and I believed him and transferred the plot in the name of Paanchaali in December 1994. Later in 2000 I came to know that John, being a “person of Indian origin” through his marriage to an Indian-born girl, was eligible to own immovable properties in India. Thus I was told a deliberate lie to get the plot transferred in the name of Paanchaali rather than John because their plan was to get rid off John later on.

 

 

Killing many birds in one shot

 

Before asking me for my plot, they made a big hue and cry saying that my trusted neighbor Mr P.C. George blocked the sale of the neighboring plot to them. They claimed that they saw George’s driver going around with the owner of the plot and the new buyer. Apparently what happened was the following: The Kudilan family made an offer for a neighboring plot and the offer was accepted by the owner of the plot. It was a verbal offer with a nominal down payment of Rs 500/- or 1,000/-. Kudilan family cleared the plot and even started collecting the coconut from the coconut tree in the plot. Then after a couple of weeks someone, who was working in the Gulf, came and made a much bigger offer on the plot. The owner sold the plot to the Gulf fellow and returned the down payment to the Kudilan family. Thus the owner broke his word and my trusted neighbor P.C.George had nothing to do with the episode. The Kudilan family wanted to kill many birds at one shot. (a) They wanted to pretend that they were humiliated by the actions of my trusted friend and neighbor George and wanted me to go and ask him about it and quarrel with him and not to talk to him and his family anymore. I told them that the only villain in the story was the owner of the plot who broke his word and he was the only one to blame and I was not going to ask George about it or to quarrel with him. Luckily I did not fall in their trap. They wanted me to break my friendship with George because later when they would try to capture my house, George should not come for my rescue. They had earlier tried to quarrel with the only other two neighbors and I did not fall in their trap luckily. I kept friendship with all the neighbors because I never liked to be unfriendly and unhelpful to my neighbors even if they did some unpleasant things to me out of their ignorance. In these cases they did not do anything wrong to me, and my servants, namely the Kudilan family, had no right to quarrel with my neighbors. (b) By making a hue and cry, enough sympathy should be created in me so that I would part with my adjoining plot. This worked and I gave my adjoining plot to them for making a house of their own. I had bought this plot to plant coconut trees because I loved coconut trees. Our family had lot of coconut gardens. I had already planted coconut trees in the adjoining plot. The young trees were fruiting at that time. I had nurtured those trees and I myself had removed coconut beetles from the young trees and looked after the trees from the planting stage on. I did not want to part with my plot containing my lovely trees. But then I thought that being such trustworthy servants the Kudilan family would take care of my trees and the trees would be in the care of my most loyal and trusted servants. (c) After having the plot they wanted to pressurize John to sell everything he owned in Canada and transfer all his assets to Ernakulam in the name of building a house of their own. This also worked. John sold everything including his trailer home, his equipped van and he even went and borrowed maximum possible, to the tune of $7,000, on his credit cards and transferred that also to Ernakulam.

When their strategy of making me quarrel with my neighbor George did not work, they came with the next story. As I mentioned earlier, I had bought the first plot in Kalliath Parambu Enclave from my friend Karia (not real name) in 1981. As I mentioned earlier, my friend Avirah and Karia fenced my plot around with konna trees and secured the plot by the time I came back from Canada. The plot was supposed to be about 13.5 cents. But in December 1984 when I dug the foundation for my house I found that there was not much land left for the courtyard on the north side. As per the plan of the plot, there should be around 10 feet of courtyard on all sides but there was hardly 5 feet on the north side. Then I decided to buy one cent of vacant land on the north side from the owner of the neighboring plot. Definitely there was one cent missing from my plot. Most probably what happened was the following: My friends Avirah, Karia and their surveyor surveyed the plot and put konna branches all around the plot. Konna branches take root system right away and start growing within days. Thus people used to have konna trees for marking the boundaries temporarily, and some times permanently. After my friends left most probably the owner of the land on the north side pulled out the konna branches and put them about 5 feet inside my plot. The branches grew and when I was about to build the house the boundary was what the konna trees indicated. Another possibility was that the surveyor made a mistake that was very unlikely. Another possibility was that George, who was the owner of the plot on the south side, put his compound wall about 5 feet inside my plot. This was unlikely because he was a retired Chief Engineer, he had bought four plots together and hence he did not need 5 feet from my single plot, and above all, he was a God-fearing Catholic.

When I brought the Kudilan family to my house I had told them about losing one cent out of my 13.5-cents and then buying back that one-cent from possibly the person who stole the one-cent to start with. After I gave my adjoining plot to Paanchaali the Kudilan family decided to make another story to make me quarrel with my neighbor George. They said that when they brought a surveyor, to survey the plot that I had given, the surveyor had surveyed a few of the neighboring plots to find the exact location of the plot and the road etc and found that my original one cent was in the house compound of George. Luckily I did not fall in this trap either. I told them that even if the story was true then asking George about it then would not solve anything. In fact, when I bought the one-cent from the owner of the north side, I had asked the surveyor to survey the balance of the land and found that the balance was still slightly more than the original area of that plot. Hence knowingly or unknowingly my one-cent was in that plot and not in the plot owned by George.

The Kudilan family had picked up this strategy of making me quarrel with my neighbors from the contractor’s strategy. One day, while my house construction was going on, the contractor’s men climbed the coconut tree at the back of my compound and belonging to my back neighbor, and cut coconuts from the tree. Then the workers quarreled with my back neighbor. I was planning to buy one cent from them to make my back courtyard bigger. Due to this quarrel, they did not want to sell any land to me but I talked to them and apologized on behalf of the workers and told them also that the workers belonged to the contractor and not to me. Thus we kept the friendship. The contractor’s men quarreled with the south side neighbor also. Again I pacified my neighbor. The contractor’s aim was to make me quarrel with all the neighbors. I did not realize then. There were only one at the back and one on the south side. The purpose was that when the contractor tried to extort more money from me at the end, no neighbor should come to my help. Later when the contractor did exactly the same, then only I realized what he was trying to do by making me quarrel with my neighbors. When the Kudilan family was brought to my house I had told them about what the contractor tried to do. They kept that information in mind and tried to do exactly the same thing to me. I learned one lesson from this. Do not divulge any detail of anything unnecessarily to others.

 

 

John was fully robbed

 

The Kudilan family had been trying to grab everything John had saved up so far in his life. They were already pestering him to sell everything that he had in Canada. After getting my plot, John sold everything and transferred the funds to Ernakulam. Now, all of John’s assets plus money borrowed on his credit card were in a joint account at the State Bank of India at Ernakulam, Kerala, India. Paanchaali and John could operate this account independently with either signature. The Kudilan family, under the leadership of Kundi, had very successfully and very cunningly defrauded John and me by that time. I never knew until the year 2000 that all assets of John plus borrowed money were in Ernakulam since 1995. Only in 2000 I came to know from John about what happened to him. He said that he realized that Paanchaali was taking money from their joint account in Ernakulam and giving to her brother Dushtan. He realized it only much later and by that time nearly Rs 6 lakhs were removed and given to Dushtan by Paanchaali. Then he put a condition on the account that both signatures were needed to withdraw any money from the joint account in Ernakulam. Later Paanchaali would use this clause and not to sign any withdrawal slip thus effectively blocking John from his own bank account.

 

 

Creation of identity in my house and removal of my identity from my house

 

Meanwhile, Dushtan was trying to create an identity for them in my house and at the same time trying to remove my identity from my house. When they were brought into Ernakulam on 21st July 1986 they brought their ration card. My name was in the ration card of my parents and brothers at Chakkampuzha (Nechipuzhoor village), near Palai, Kerala, India. Ration card used to be the only identity card in Kerala until very recently. Ration card was introduced during the Second World War so that one could buy the limited supply of food items by using the cards. I would have to make a separate application to remove my name from Chakkampuzha and transfer to Ernakulam. Instead of doing that my name could be included in their ration card and then the card could be officially transferred to me as the head of the family. The City Rationing Officer in Ernakulam suggested the second process. When the ration card was to be renewed the card would be issued in my name with the Kudilan family shown as my dependents. I instructed Dushtan to do the necessary paperwork. He agreed. Apparently around 1990 the card was renewed. Dushtan decided to put me as the head of the family and put his mother as my wife, his sister Paanchaali as my daughter and himself as my son, his father as my cousin and his mother’s sister, who was not in my house, as my sister. I never knew about this manipulation until 2000 when they produced a copy of the ration card in the Court claiming to show proof of their stay in my house (Exhibits B1, B2). He manipulated their ages also. At the second renewal, Dushtan put himself as older than his sister Paanchaali (Exhibit B2). As per the real age he is one year younger than his sister but as per their SSLC books he is 3 years younger than his sister (Exhibits B8 Series). The true age difference between his father and mother was about 25 years (Exhibit B1), which was also cut down drastically in the renewed card.

From the documents produced by them in the Court in 2000 and 2001 it was clear that starting from 1993 Dushtan was putting my house name as Kanjimattathil (not the real name), which was their ancestral house name at Palai. My family name Arakaparambil was in all official records at Ernakulam. I found that he made applications in my name by forging my signature and changed the house name to Kanjimattathil in all official records. He did not remove my name also because I was likely to come to know about it soon and then I would remove them from my house right away. By 1993 he had not created enough traps to trap me fully and not enough records to take over my house. Hence he wanted to wait some more time before removing my name from all official records. Then he started registering firms at my house address, with my phone number 345098 listed as the company’s phone and putting Kanjimattathil as my house name at Edappally.

Then he manipulated the electoral list. I was in the electoral list of Ernakulam starting from 1987 onwards, after I built the house at Ernakulam. Before that time, my name was in the electoral list at Chakkampuzha, with my ancestral house address. Having the name in the electoral list was another form of identity of the person in those days. Now, the people are given electoral identity cards. Dushtan decided that I should not have my identity through the electoral list and decided to remove my name from the electoral list. I never used to cast my vote because usually during election time I would be abroad. Once I was in Ernakulam and I went to the polling booth and I found that forgers already cast my vote and hence I could not vote at that time either. When the enumerators came around, the Kudilan family quietly informed them that there was no such person as Dr.Mathai at my house and that the house name was not Arakaparambil but Kanjimattathil. Since there was nobody to dispute it the new information was recorded and my name and house name were deleted from the electoral list. Only in the year 2000 I came to know about it. Then I made an application and reinstated my name into the electoral list.

 

 

The strategy of irritating my relatives

 

In early 1995 my cousin, my mother’s brother’s daughter, had a national competitive examination to write, which was to be held at Ernakulam for two days. She and her girlfriend, who was also writing the same examination, came to Ernakulam to my Edappally house hoping to stay there, go for the test and come back to sleep in the night only. Apparently the Kudilan family made some silly excuse and did not allow them to stay. She wrote to me about it to Montreal. Before the Kudilan family were brought to Ernakulam they were given in writing all the conditions including that they must look after all my relatives whoever came to Ernakulam whether men, women, old or young. I immediately wrote to Dushtan scolding them for what they had done and never to repeat the same thing again. But later events revealed that they thought that they had created enough records by then and they had changed their strategy from pretending to be faithful, loyal and trusted servants and relatives to a confrontational mode. Then by December 1995 my second cousin’s son was employed as one of the field investigators for a sample survey project of the Centre for Mathematical Sciences at Trivandrum. His districts included Ernakulam also and hence he had to stay for 3 or 4 days in Ernakulam on different occasions. I had written to the Kudilan family informing that the boy would come and make ready the guest room on the first floor for him and that he would eat his meals from outside, on the job. Apparently he came and stayed for one night and went for his survey job. Then he was to return to Ernakulam after a couple of days. When he came for the second time he knocked at the gate then Kundi came and checked and found that the boy was waiting at the gate but did not open the gate. He called out but she just went in to the house and closed the door. The boy had to go to the town and find a place to stay. Next day his mother wrote to me explaining what happened. I wrote to Dushtan to hear about his version. During this period Paanchaali was in Montreal. Dushtan called back saying that the boy had opened the front door during the first visit and went out in the night leaving the front door unlocked and also that he had cut and taken away the cable, which belonged to the cable company and which was rolled up on the front wall of my compound. I did not believe it because the boy was extremely well behaved and wrote back to my cousin informing about their story. I got the reply saying he did not go out in the night and he did not know anyone there to go out in the night and that he did not steal any cable because he had no use of any cable.

This time I wrote an official letter on my university letterhead to Dushtan and asked them to vacate from my house and to start the construction of their proposed house right away. This letter was sent on 8th January 1996. On the same day itself I had written to our common family friend, my former student and the former Public Prosecutor of CBI Shri K.N. Raveendran requesting him to intervene and persuade the Kudilan family to move out right away. Later when I came back I checked with Mr Raveendran. He had already talked to them and they needed a few more months to start the construction claiming that a little more funds to be transferred by John from Montreal to Ernaklam. Since I was not in touch with John I could not verify this story that some more funds were to be transferred.

I was planning to come back to India in May 1996 and try to evict the defendants from my house because of the incident with my cousin’s son. Originally I was not planning to come to India in 1996 since I had entrusted the Directorship of the Centre at Trivandrum to Dr Sukumaran Nair, the former Vice-Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi University, because the State Government, one after the other, was making excuses and was not releasing funds for the proposed development of the Centre. I had transferred the Directorship in December 1995. Then I was planning to come to India either in December 1996 or in April 1997. But due to the ugly incidents with my relatives I decided to come in May 1996 and evict the Kudilan family from my house. But a tragedy turned into a lucky event for the Kudilan family.

 

 

Demise of a former dependent of mine

 

By 1993 itself, Dushtan’s legal advisors had advised him not to write to me so that there should not be written records but to make phone calls only whenever he wanted to communicate with me, or he might have figured out by himself that he should not give anything in writing to anyone. All the communications from him were in the form of phone calls. In February 1996 he called me saying that they were planning to move out from my house in February 1996 itself and that one of the students that I educated, committed suicide and that there was a big commotion going on in Alakode in north Kerala at the girl’s husband’s place and he advised me not to go to Alakode or not to come to India in April 1996 as planned. The girl in question was one of my first cousins’ wife’s sister’s daughter. I was looking after the educational expenses of this girl and five of her brothers since the family was poor. She was the eldest and she went up to M.A (Economics) degree class. When she was studying for her M.A, a boy in her class started wooing her. Finally she also fell for him. Then his family approached the girl’s family with a marriage proposal. Both families went through the usual formalities of exchange of visits and finally the marriage was fixed. As per the girl’s family, the boy had first gone to become a priest – missionary, then came out of the seminary, then he learned electrician’s work, repair of electronic items and became a self-made man. While studying, he was also the lenceman at a movie theatre during nighttime and also did electrical wiring on contract basis during weekends and during his spare time. He would inherit only half an acre of land from his parents as his share but he had independent earnings from his lenceman’s job and electrician’s job. The girl’s family had by then about 4 and half acres of land on a hillside in Kasaragode District in north Kerala. The boy’s family wanted the marriage right away. Apparently lots of boys had come, through marriage brokers, to see the girl and all the boys who came through brokers liked the girl and negotiations were going on for a marriage. Hence this boy did not want to lose the girl. But the girl’s family wanted to fix the marriage as per my convenience because they did not want any of the children to get married without my presence. I was free only in July 1995 and hence the marriage was fixed for July 1995.

All the boys, who came out of the seminary or priesthood that I knew of, had some serious problems and the character was not good. Hence I had some reservations regarding this proposal because the boy had come out of the seminary. But the girl’s father had made inquiries through many people and all gave excellent recommendations about the boy’s character. After the tragedy I came to know that my fears were not unfounded. Just before the marriage proposal was to be finalized the custom dictated that the boy comes to the girl’s house with his boss or very respected member of his community and gives the final word. The boy came with one of my younger brothers. Then only the girl’s family found out that the boy was the lenceman in my younger brother’s cinema theatre, and thus an employee of my younger brother. Only at that time my younger brother came to know that the girl was one of the students that I was helping to educate. At the marriage I went with the girl’s party as the chief guest and my brother came in the boy’s party as the chief guest. I saw the boy for the first time at the time of marriage and closely at the reception hall after the marriage. He told me that he had seen me at my brother’s place but I did not remember seeing him before. The marriage was celebrated with the routine paraphernalia. As the custom demanded, we took the boy to the girl’s place for the first three days of their married life. I left for Trivandrum after the farewell party to the new couple when the girl was taken to the boy’s house. I had asked the boy and the girl to complete their M.A degrees because only a few more months to go for graduation. Apparently the boy’s family did not want the girl to go to the college after the marriage.

Then when I came back from Canada in December 1995, I went on invitation, to visit the boy’s house. The boy’s parents were found to be extremely pleasant. The girl claimed to be very happy but she wanted to move out and to have her own house. The father-in-law told me that the girl would be sleeping without taking any food in many of the evenings because, as a dutiful Kerala wife, she would wait for her husband to come before herself taking any food. Most of the time there would be no bus connection to come home from the theatre after the second show. Apparently all of them, including the boy, had suggested to her to take food at regular time and then wait for her husband. But she refused. Even after my urging she claimed that it would be all right to miss dinner occasionally, but in fact she was missing dinner frequently. As a result she was also losing weight. I gathered that there was something else wrong in the family, possibly due to her brothers-in-laws and uncles-in-law. My guess proved to be correct later on after she committed suicide.

I was so sad that she was going to bed frequently without taking food and without having company of her husband. I immediately gave a cheque for the boy to buy a new motorcycle and asked the boy to buy a motorcycle the next day and come home every night. He did. The boy also wanted to move out possibly because the brothers had expected him to be a priest and would not be there to share the family properties. Now he was back and married and there was friction about family properties. He was only to get half an acre of land but half an acre would mean dividing the family house on the land. The house was in the middle of a less than one acre of land. I told the boy not to worry about his half an acre. I asked him to start looking for a building plot near the town and I would buy the plot for them and not to quarrel about the family share. He had agreed and I had put the necessary funds in their bank account at Alakode.

The newly wed couple came to the girl’s home for the first Christmas, as per the custom. I was invited to be present to celebrate Christmas on a grand scale. I reached there from Trivandrum and I was planning to go directly from there to Canada. The Christmas was celebrated well. Even though the Christmas party went excellent food-wise, I found everyone to be unhappy and hiding something from me. I asked them what it was about and what was going on. Then finally the girl confided in me that her father had been wasting money. He wanted to claim himself to be the richest man in the area. For this purpose, he put the deed of purchase (aadhaaram) of the land, on which the family home was standing, at the local bank, borrowed several thousands of rupees and gave to whoever asked for as loan, without any security of any sort. He could not collect anything back from the borrowers and even he could not collect back the capital. Soon the bank would take over the house and the one-acre of land on which the house stood. I asked her father what he did, why he did it and how he was going to pay back the loan to the bank. He had no answer but the tone of his reply was unbearable to the girl, her mother and grown-up brothers and everyone burst into tears. I asked the newly wed to remit the money that I had given them for buying a building plot of their own and clear her father’s debt and at the same time to collect the deed of sale and asked the boy to keep it so that the deed would not be used to borrow money from the bank again. I was so disgusted with it and told that I would be writing only rarely thereafter. But she cried and wanted me to write to them every week. I said, not every week but I would reply to all of their letters to Montreal. Then I asked the boy to locate a plot right away and inform me to Montreal as soon as a plot was located then I would send some more money to buy the plot. I left as soon as the young couple left her house on 26th itself even though we were all planning to spend a few days together until I left for Montreal. I had to leave at the latest by 30th to catch a flight from Mangalore the next day. But all the three of us left on 26th itself, I to Mangalore and they to Alakode.

As soon as I reached Montreal I got a letter from the girl apologizing and asking for forgiveness on her father’s behalf. I got a letter from the boy saying that the debt was cleared and on that day at the bank he had also some unpleasant exchanges with his father-in-law and finally the father-in-law gave the deed of sale as per my instructions. I got a second letter from the girl within a couple of days of the first letter complaining that she did not get my reply to the first letter and that she was sad that I was angry at the whole family and that was why I did not reply etc. I had already replied to her first letter saying to forget about everything and to go on with their lives and forget about what her father was doing. Then I got another letter from the boy saying that he had located a plot and he was negotiating the price and he would let me know. Then I got a third letter from the girl and she was completely upset that I did not reply to her earlier two letters. In fact, I had replied to her two letters as well as to the two letters from the boy. When she wrote the third letter it was already passed the time for the receipts of the replies to the first two letters. Apparently her brothers-in-law did not give the letters to her or there was undue delay in the postal service in India at that time. The letters were used to be delivered to one brother-in-laws’ small shop. The next thing I heard was the phone call from Dushtan saying that she committed suicide.

It was a shock for me to hear that she committed suicide. I knew that she had some problems at her husband’s place and that she wanted to move out from there at the earliest. But I never thought that it was of such a serious nature. I asked Dushtan to find out why she committed suicide, assuming that he was still my trusted and loyal servant. He wanted to catch fish in muddy waters. Later events would show that he did his best to direct everybody’s anger and disappointment at me. He called all around, including my brother the boy’s boss and transferred all around what he heard and what stories he created on his own. He called me back claiming that so many speculative stories were spreading and that some evening papers had printed all sorts of stories about me connecting to the girl. I said that it was impossible to give such a twist. He even told me that police party was planning to come from Alakode to raid my house at Edappally to collect evidences and that he was expecting police raid at any time. I called my brother and he said that all sorts of stories were spreading and most probably the boy’s brothers and one uncle were behind it because they wanted to put the blame on someone else so that they could escape from the responsibility of the new daughter-in-law committing suicide in their house. Meanwhile the girl’s father was trying to collect back all her ornaments, almirah, tailoring machine etc. The boy’s brothers and uncle were trying to get hold of all those items plus 50% of the girl’s immovable properties. Apparently there was a law in India that if the girl died within six month’s of the marriage the boy was eligible to get 50% of the girl’s immovable properties. If this is true, then there is no wonder why there are so many bride-burning incidents in India. By this time three articles appeared in the evening papers without mentioning my name. From the text, it was clear that the boy or the boy’s brothers or uncles had given the text because there were some details that only the boy knew. I gathered that the boy himself wrote up the text and given to the evening papers.

I wrote to the boy asking him to send me the names of the best lawyers there and the name and address of the local sub inspector of police. He sent me the details right away. When I wrote to him saying that I was planning to take action against the newspapers and against the people who supplied the text and that was why I needed the details of the sub inspector of police the names of the best lawyers. With that letter all the commotion stopped all of a sudden and no more newspaper articles appeared thereafter. The boy realized that I understood who were behind the commotion. The boy’s family did not want me to come to Alakode right away so that I might take action against them. They wanted to bid for some time so that my anger against them would subside. I sent copies of the last five letters to me, three from the girl and two from the boy, to the local sub inspector of police there asking him to take action against the boy’s family, and to a few local leaders at the boy’s place and the girl’s place. With that, all the commotion stopped. But Dushtan was giving me the story that the local people had formed organizations at the boy’s place and the girls’ place and if I ever set foot anywhere there they would physically liquidate me and that he was expecting police raid at my house at Ernakulam any time. They were planning to have a public trial and give me “peoples’ punishment”. In one call he even claimed that they were waiting to catch me and cut off my legs and hands. He had also persuaded various people to write to him about the speculations. He collected them and kept to use against me later on. Then he fabricated on his own a few letters by using that incident. This I realized later in 2000 when he produced, the so-called letters from various people, in the Courts with the hope of tarnishing my name (Exhibits B 18, 18(a)).

I could not realize how could there be such a hue and cry as Dushtan had described, because when I was looking after the girl and her brothers all the people in Alakode area (boy’s place) and Cherupuzha area (girl’s place) knew about the details. Some people thought that she was my daughter from America that I had put her in the local hostel as some parents who were settled abroad usually did. Her cleanliness, behavior, smartness and general manners of dealing with others could only make anyone to believe that she was my daughter. They could only be sad that such a thing had happened to such a nice girl and none could be angry with me for anything. I wrote to my niece’s husband who was staying near the boy’s place and to some acquaintances, who were staying near the girl’s place, and asked them to inform me about the real situation. All of them wrote to me saying that everybody was sad that such a nice girl had passed away, they were sad that I could not reach there in time to comfort the girl’s family and everyone was anxiously waiting for my arrival and to advise them what to do next. Then I realized that the truth was what I thought what it would be and Dushtan was trying to mold the disappointment of the local people as anger and direct it against me.

My rescheduled proposed visit in May 1996 to evict the Kudilan family from my house did not take place due to the correspondences back and forth and due to lack of a clear picture of what was happening there at Alakode and Cherupuzha. By September-October the picture was clear. Then I decided to go to Cherupuzha, the girl’s place in December 1996 itself as planned and then to the boy’s place after that. I informed the girl’s father when I would be coming. I went to the town as usual, hired the same jeep I used to hire and went up the hill. I had taken a lot of copies of the last five letters that I received from the girl and the boy. In case someone asked anything about the incident then I could give him the copies of those letters and my part in it would be clear to anyone from these letters. None asked me about anything. The girl’s family was anxiously waiting for me. I stayed at the girl’s house for a couple of days, comforting the family members and advising them to go forward and forget about the incident. After a couple of days, as usual, I called for a jeep and went through the town, stopped and talked to the acquaintances in town. I also gave copies of the five letters to the most talkative person in town and one set to be given to the priest of the local parish. As per request from the parish priest, I had donated coir carpets on behalf of the girl as marriage present to the church. My carpets were still there in the church, being used by the parishioners for kneeling down.

Then I went to the boy’s town. As usual, I went around with my niece’s husband, to shops and talked to the acquaintances. All of them that I met at that trip at Alakode and Cherupuzha had only one thing to say. If she had any problem at the husband’s place or with the husband then she should have told me, if she could not talk to her parents or parents-in-law, before taking such an extreme step. After talking to various people, including her brothers, my conclusion as to why she did it was the following: There were many factors. One was her father’s continued squandering of money and family properties. After clearing the first debt he again started borrowing and spending. She found that she had to give also the next amount that I was going to send for buying a building plot, for clearing her father’s new debts. The second was the character flow in her husband whom she worshipped. She came to know of it by that time. The third was harassment from her brothers-in-law and uncle-in-law. She was the best looking among the wives of the married brothers, and who brought lot of gold and expensive clothes and every one was jealous. The next reason was her feeling that I was angry with the whole family and I had forsaken her. The immediate reasons were the following: On the day of the incident her younger brother came to see her and she committed suicide soon after he left. He confided in her one incident relating to her husband’s character flaw and about her father’s renewed squandering of money. The second immediate reason was that her brother-in-law did not give her my replies to her two letters and she assumed that I had forsaken her. When she was fully depressed that no letter from me came even after her writing three letters the bad news about her husband, whom she worshipped, and about her father, whom she loved very dearly, also came and she could not take it anymore.

She was a very sensitive girl. Once I even thought of her as a bride for my younger son when he wanted to marry a girl from India. I did not tell her or my son about my thoughts. Then I decided against it because of her over sensitivity. I thought that she could not survive in the American way of life. I can describe a few incidents. Once I was helping with some concrete work at her family house. I was standing on the ground and directing the operation. One worker, knowingly, put a cement pan down from the rooftop purposely to hit me because he was jealous that I was helping her family and not his family. The girl saw the pan coming and let out a cry. Her cry saved me from having the pan fall on my head. Then she would not let me go anywhere near there when the workers were on the roof. Another incident occurred when her father and I were taking her home from her hostel one day. We were traveling in a common jeep. Her father picked up a quarrel with a drunkard in the jeep. She started crying thinking that the drunkard would hurt me if her father continued picking a quarrel with him. Whenever I was at their house I would try to do some research work after talking to them and after they started engaging themselves with their routine work at home, cooking, cleaning etc. She would come almost every five minutes to check whether I needed anything and whether I was angry with them because they were doing their work and not talking to me and spending time with me etc. I thought that she would make my son nuts with over affection and she would not be suitable for my son.

During my visit in 1996 I visited the Centre at Trivandrum and Cherupusha and Alakode in north Kerala and left back to Canada. I did not want to visit Ernakulam. I spent most of the time at Trivandrum giving advice to the new administration at the Centre and I found that the Centre was not progressing as I hoped for but in fact I had seen possible future problems with accounting. I had brought this matter to the attention of the new Director.

 

 

John and his cardamom estate

 

The next time that I came to India was in the summer of 1997. This time the Kudilan family apologized to me profusely about the incidents that they did not allow my relatives to stay in my house and said that such a thing would never happen. When I told them that I had been to Kasaragode and Alakode in 1996 and stayed at the girl’s house for two days and in Alakode for two days and nobody had cut my feet or hands, Dushtan was surprised and he claimed that he only conveyed what he heard. By this time John had given advances for buying 7.68 acres of cardamom estate in Kurisupara near Munnar in Kerala, India. He said that he would develop the estate into a tourist resort and the whole family would settle down at Kurisupara to run the tourist resort and that they would be returning to me the adjoining plot that I had given to them for building their house. He said that the price for the cardamom estate was going to be Rs 7.5 lakhs and he was told that the land could not be registered in his name, being a foreigner, and hence he was going to register it in his wife’s name. At that time I also thought that it was correct. But in 2000 I came to know that the land could have been registered in John’s name because he qualified to be “a person of Indian origin” being married to an Indian-born girl. If I knew, then I would have told him to register the land in his own name. Dushtan, when he had asked his lawyers, must have known about this but he wanted the land not to be registered in John’s name. Later events proved this. I told John that if there was any other name involved then on the same day itself create a power of attorney in favor of him or his wife with full power to dispose off the property as well, and to ask her to keep the power of attorney and the sales deed in her custody only. When I heard that Dushtan had arranged the deal and the sales deed would be signed only after a few months I had a suspicion that he was trying to cheat John and his wife of the Rs 7.5 lakhs. When the buyer, namely John, had ready cash with him and when the seller had a clear title deed to the property I did not see the reason why they should delay in signing the deed of sale. In any case I was happy that I had to wait only another six months to one year that the Kudilan family would be out of my house and they would be at the estate running a tourist resort.

I went back to Canada and John also left. When I came back in 1998 I found that after John and I left in 1997, the sales deed was executed in the names of Kudilan as the first party, Kundi as the second party and Paanchaali as the third party and there was no power of attorney executed in favor of John or Paanchaali. This meant that when the old man Kudilan died, the estate would automatically pass on to his son Dushtan being the only son. In Christian families in Kerala the inheritance was through sons. Kudilan was already 77 by that time. Even John was not aware of the details of the sales deed. Upon my insistence a power of attorney was executed as stipulated but from the later developments it was clear that Paanchaali wanted the whole property to go to her brother Dushtan and she hoped to live as his dependant after driving away her husband and children.

When I came in 1997 I found that Paanchaali had her second child. I had no contact with them in Montreal during the whole of 1996 and I did not know that she was pregnant with her second child. I came to know from a letter of Dushtan from India (Exhibit A28) saying that Paanchaali had her second child and the whole John family, John, Paanchaali, their son and daughter were in India in my house. I also found that by 1997 John spent about Rs 2 lakhs and bought an Armada jeep but registered in his wife’s name. I thought that even a foreigner could register movable items such as a jeep in his name. But Dushtan said that he had checked with the lawyers and found that the jeep could not be registered in John’s name and hence it was registered in Paanchaali’s name. Later on I found that this was a deliberate lie.

 

 

Strategy of isolating me

 

As part of Kudilan family’s plan to isolate me, they tried to put a wedge between my student and family friend Raveendran and me. Raveendran, his wife and children used to visit my Edappally house when I was present or not. When something to be done in my absence Raveendran used to be called by the Kudilan family and he used to look after the affairs. Each time the Kudilan family was telling me all sorts of stories about all of my neighbors including Raveendran, about their so-called affairs etc. I did not pay much attention to any of the stories. Then one day Kundi and Paanchaali came to me and said that I had given too much freedom to Raveendran and as soon as I left for Canada Raveendran would come and it was impossible to get rid off him. He started ruling the Kudilan family including disciplining Paanchaali’s son. All of them objected and still Raveendran would come and beat up the child. One day Raveendrn even slapped Paanchaali. She could only cry because Raveendran was my student and confidant. They requested me whether I could tell Raveendran to come to the house only when I would be present. Thinking that what they said were all true, one day I told Raveendran confidentially that the Kudilan family did not like him to come home when I was not present and hence come only when I would be present. After that Raveendran was keeping aloof.

Dushtan came and told me that he heard that Raveendran’s pension was stopped because someone had made a complaint against him. He was sure that I made the complaint because Raveendran slapped Paanchaali. I told him that I would not do any such thing to anyone let alone to my student and friend. If there was a complaint it was from someone else. Later I came to know in the year 2000 that while they were working on me to create a distance between Raveendran and me they were pretending to be good friends of Raveendran and Dushtan borrowed about Rs 2 lakhs from him and another Rs 1 lakh from Raveendran’s cousin through Raveendran. I was not aware of these because Raveendran and his family were not visiting me. Thus the Kudilan family was quite successful in creating a wedge between Raveendran and me and then grabbing nearly Rs 3 lakhs as cash from Raveendran and his cousin. Raveendran and his cousin did not get back their money and they could not take any action to recover the amount because there was no official record. The money was given as cash on trust and thinking that Dushtan was my own nephew.

Later in 2000, after filing the eviction case, and during one conversation I told Raveendran what exactly the Kudilan family told me about his beating up the child and even slapping Paanchaali, his pension being stopped etc. He told me that no such thing had ever happened and nobody had stopped his pension. Then I realized that they wanted me to quarrel with my student and confidant so that he would not come to my help when they tried to grab my house. At the same time they wanted to grab Rs 3 lakhs from Raveendran and his cousin, and they succeeded in this game. But their strategy of keeping Raveendran away backfired when they tried to get rid off John in 1998. John went to Raveendran, as he was the only trusted friend in India for John. Then the details of Kudilan family’s acts of treachery started surfacing one after the other.

Another attempt was made to create enmity between a second cousin of mine and me when they thought that I was very close to this second cousin. This was before the marriage of Paanchaali to John. For some time Paanchaali was employed as a receptionist by a credit card outfit floated by my cousin and his friends. One day Paanchaali and Dushtan came to me complaining about and in graphic details of how my cousin tried to molest Paanchaali and that I should try to talk to my cousin. Believing that they were telling the truth, because the detailed description was believable, I went to his house. Luckily he was not at home but his wife was at home. I asked her when he would be coming home. Suspecting that there was something wrong she asked me whether there was something wrong at the office at Ernakulam. I said that there was nothing serious but I would like to talk to him. I met him after a few days and talked to him about the supposed incident and he claimed that no such thing had ever happened. They dismissed her right away because they did not want such a liar in their outfit. To start with, they decided to give her the job only because she was my dependent and staying in my house.

There was another supposed incident with another cousin of mine. This cousin was quite affluent and efficient business-wise and he had a lot of connections in Ernakulam. So the Kudilan family thought that it would be dangerous for their plans if my cousin and I were very close. Their story went like this: one day my cousin suggested to Paanchaali and Dushtan whether they would like to go and see his big estate of young rubber trees with several acres of banana plantation, with all banana plants flowering with young bunches of bananas out. The landscape and the fruiting banana plants are exquisitely beautiful. They could go in his car, visit the place and come back before evening. They agreed to start soon after lunch. But the trip did not start before 4 pm. They had just enough time to see the banana plantation before it was night by then. Hence the return trip was in the night with my cousin, Paanchaali and Dushtan at the back seat and my cousin’s driver driving. Soon after they left the banana plantation my cousin started misbehaving with Paanchaali and Dushtan had noticed it but he did not do anything fearing me. It was a torturous trip all the way back to my house. After the trip my cousin stayed in my guest room for the night and asked Paanchaali secretly to come to his room in the night. I thought that the story was not believable. Usually if a girl traveled in the back seat of a car with her brother and a stranger then the brother would sit in between the stranger and his sister and nobody would put the girl or the stranger in the middle. If the girl happened to sit in the middle and if the stranger started to misbehave then any girl would ask her brother to change places, making some excuse. If the stranger had to feel confident enough to ask the girl to come to his bedroom in the night then the girl had to give plenty of positive signals beforehand. Hence I figured out that if the story was correct then all the Kudilan family had planned together to create such a scene either to trap my rich cousin or to create displeasure between my cousin and me. Hence I did not ask my cousin about it and I decided to talk to him later if any other similar incidents occurred later on. When they noticed that I did not talk to my cousin about the supposed attempt of molestation they did not have any more such stories later on regarding my cousin.

There was another good family in the neighborhood of my Edappally house. I was very friendly with the man who was a former bank manager. They were living there before I started building my house and thus they were one of the first friends in the neighborhood. The Kudilan family came with a story once that the bank manager was dismissed due to misappropriation of funds and they had various stories about the whole family including his wife and advised me that if I associated with that family then I would be spoiling my name and reputation. I kept friendly relations with the family because I did not notice any abnormal behavior in the whole family. Only in 2000 I realized that they were trying to create enmity between all my neighbors and me. Since I treated all my neighbors with respect and kept the friendship their strategy did not work.

 

 

Attempt to get rid of John

 

By 1998 Paanchaali started with stories about her husband John’s misdeeds. She painted the picture of a person indulging in perverted sex, a child molester, a wife-beater and so on, and requested me to intervene. She wanted to divorce her husband. The picture she painted of John was exactly opposite of my evaluation of the person. In manners, he appeared to be an extremely polite gentleman. He seemed to be extremely devoted to his wife and children. He never smoked, never took alcoholic drinks, never took drugs, and above all, he was a practicing pure vegetarian. Such a person was very unlikely to be a perverted sexual offender and a wife-beater. Since I did not know about their bedroom affairs I believed what she was saying. I wrote two letters to be handed over to John when he came to Ernakulam next time. The substance in one of the letters was that the marital problems, if any, could be due to cultural clash and for the sake of the children he must adjust and try to build up a happy family life and that I would give all possible help to patch up the differences, if any. In the second one I had given him full authority to be the head of the family at Edappally and act on my behalf whenever I was not at Edappally so that he should feel at home at Edappally. Later I came to know from John in 2000 that he got the first letter but he never saw the second letter. After getting the first letter John branded me as his enemy because without knowing any true fact I sided with the Kudilan family. Their strategy was to create a wedge between John and me and in this aspect their strategy worked. They also thought that I would accuse him of whatever Paanchali was saying and in that case they could use that letter also to substantiate their thesis that I was responsible for their marriage breakup.

Paanchaali also requested me to contact my lawyer and request him to take up her case to divorce her husband. I was in general against divorce when children were involved but if joint life was impossible then a legal separation would be the only solution. If John was a child molester then I wanted the children’s custody should be with their mother. So I sent an e-mail message from Montreal, Canada, to my advocate in Ernakulam detailing the problems and giving my opinion for a legal separation. When I came back to India I met him also. I found that he also had concurrent views that he was opposed to divorce when children were involved and he would go for separation but as a matter of principle he never wanted to take up divorce or separation cases. He also told me that Paanchaali and Dushtan had already talked to him about a divorce and he already told them his views on the topic. When he refused to take up the case they contacted me and persuaded me to write to him. Later in 2000 I realized that this was a part of a big plot to trap me. They wanted to say later that only because of my insistence Paanchaali divorced her husband and therefore I should look after her and her children and write off my house to them as well as give future financial support for them. They were trying to create records by requesting me to write letters to John, to my advocate and to others giving my opinions and advice. Then when these letters were taken out of context these would give the appearance that on my advice and directions she had divorced her husband. I did not fall into this trap only by God’s grace. Since children would need both parents one day, my philosophy was to go for legal separation if living together was impossible and this was the same view of my advocate also, and thus by chance I did not fall into the trap set for me by the Kudilan family.

 

 

Development of the tourist resort

 

By 1998 all the assets of John plus borrowed money through his credit cards were in the hands of the Kudilan family. I was not aware of this at that time. In 1998 when I came to Ernakulam Paanchaali had a trusted friend and confidant in Ernakulam. He was running errands, buying and bringing groceries etc. I thought that he was a good-hearted person trying to help her. Paanchaali and this fellow once came to me and told me that they never had the original or copy of the sales deed of her cardamom estate in Kurisupara and that she never got any power of attorney either. She did not even know in whose name the estate was purchased. Since Dushtan refused to give the deed of sale to her she suspected that the estate was not bought in her name. Apparently all the documents were with Dushtan and this friend of Paanchaali was hoping to become her husband one day and he wanted to know about the details. In those days all the Kudilan family were pretending to be my trusted loyal and faithful servants. I asked Dushtan about the deed and told him to give to Paanchaali, it should be with her because the estate was bought with John’s funds. After a few days, Paanchaali came to me with the deed. Then only I realized that the deed was registered in her father’s name as the first party. Immediately I asked Dushtan to create a power of attorney giving all rights to Paanchaali. He made one in a couple of days. I asked him whether any step was taken to transfer the title to the new owners at the village office (Aanaviratty) at Kurisupara. He did not know. There were many inconsistencies in his statements on different occasions. I was suspecting that there was something wrong. I was thinking that he did not give the full amount of Rs 7.5 lakhs, that he collected from John, to buy the estate. Paanchaali and her friend wanted me to accompany them to Kurisupara to look into the sales deed, transfer of title etc. She also claimed that she never got any money from the sales of cardamom from her estate.

One day the three of us went to Kurisupara. I found that Dushtan had leased the estate to a neighbor there for the claimed Rs 3,000/- per year when the net income should be around Rs 60,000/- per year. I also found that whatever the civil code numbers of the lots shown on the sales deed were not the ones in the village registry. With three or four trips the title was transferred and I made arrangements with an official surveyor to survey the estate, mark the boundary and put proper boundary stones. Apparently she did not pursue the matter of surveying and marking the boundaries of her properly after I left for Canada.

I also found that the land was a part of the cardamom forest and the Government Cardamom Board had a lean on the property. Not only that, one could not develop that land into a tourist resort and one had to get prior permission from the Cardamom Board even to cut a dead and fallen tree from the land. Thus, knowingly john was defrauded of Rs 7.5 lakhs of his hard-earned savings. The plan of building a resort there and the whole Kudilan family moving there was only a timely tale told to John and to me.

I was sure that their master plan of capturing my house was a plan of Kundi and Dushtan starting from the day I told them that I would entrust my newly built house to them to look after. They were developing the plan and taking all necessary steps. They did not divulge their plan to Paanchali and Kudilan thinking that the plan would leak out. When Paanchali and her new boyfriend requested me to go with them to Kurisupara to check the papers and registration of her cardamom estate she did not know about their master plan. When I left after asking her to engage a surveyor and put survey stones at the boundaries, Kundi and Dushtan told her about their master plan. From that time onward all the four of them were working together to capture my house. Paanchali was ready to get rid off her loving husband and definitely Dishtan’s assurance was there that she would be able to get an annulment of her marriage and then marry her new boyfriend. In all probability, this boyfriend was arranged by Dustan knowing very well that he could handle this boyfriend if he went out of Dushtan’s control.

John still said that if a resort could not be built in Kurisupara then he still had enough funds in his account in the State Bank of India at Ernakulam to build a small house in the adjoining plot that I had given to them at Edappally and he was willing to build a house. He also wanted the cardamom estate to be sold and he wanted to recover his money. But neither his wife nor her brother was willing to sell the estate or give John’s money to him or to build in the neighboring plot that I had given at Edappally.

 

 

My early retirement

 

In April 2000 I would be eligible to take retirement from McGill University without losing any pension benefits. In Quebec Province of Canada there was no retirement age. One could continue as long as one wished. But at the age of 65 one could opt for retirement with full retirement benefits. I was planning to take retirement in 2000 and spend more time in India looking after the affairs of the Centre at Trivandrum. In 1998 I had retaken the Directorship of the Centre as per the request of the governing council of the Centre again. My wife and I were planning to return to Ernakulam and settle down in my house and my children would come to India for frequent visits. I was also planning to set up a branch of the computer software firm, established and run by my sons in California, at my Edappally house so that the excess work could be transferred from the USA to Ernakulam and executed at Ernakulam by hiring local talents. The Kudilan family was told from the beginning that in any case they would have to vacate in 2000 because I would be settling down in my house then. In December 1999 I came to Ernakulam to do a major repair work to my house so that my family could settle down in Ernakulam by early 2000. About Rs 1.3 lakhs worth of repair work was already done by early February 2000. Only two weeks’ work remained to be done, including the cleaning up and painting of the three rooms allowed to be used by the Kudilan family. Then came the shocking news of a divorce petition and putting a claim on my house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER THREE

EVICTION SUIT IN THE SUB COURT AT ERNAKULAM

 

 

Snakes ready to bite

 

BY 1999 ALL the strategies of the Kudilan family worked as they planned. They had all the assets of John in their hands. They thought that they had trapped me well enough that I would never be able to wriggle out of it. Then they decided to move forward to their last step.

When I came in December 1999 to repair my house with a view to settle down, I noticed that the Kudilan had removed the lock to the main entrance to the master bedroom sector consisting of eight rooms. He had also removed the lock to the master bedroom. Then he had occupied one of the rooms of that sector called the “children’s room”. He changed the lock of that room also and put his own lock and locked it up. For the other main doors there were no locks at all. The locks were simply removed. Hence those rooms could only be bolted from inside and could not be locked from outside. I asked him to remove all his things and vacate from the children’s room right away. He had already spoiled the floor, bed etc of the sitting room, bedroom, bathroom etc and destroyed the closets in the bathrooms. He claimed that the elephant, meaning his wife, would not give him peace downstairs and hence he decided to occupy a room upstairs. I told him that if he could not sleep downstairs then sleep in one of the rooms in the servants’ quarters and immediately remove his items, otherwise I would throw them in the garbage. He did not move. I did not want to remove him physically because he was much stronger than me; besides, it was below my dignity to wrestle with my servant and former peon. I was thinking of a way of locking him in. Then luckily after a few hours I found a key on the door. I took it and locked the door. Meanwhile I put a new lock to the main entrance to the master bedroom sector. During all these times, others were pretending that they had nothing to do with the old man occupying a room upstairs. When he realized that I was in a position to lock him in if he did not move he said that he would remove his things. I gave him 12 hours to remove everything. After the 12-hour time was over, I threw the balance of the material in the waste paper basket. I asked Kundi and Paanchaali to clean up the mess that the old man had made. They did some cleaning.

They thought that the old man would be able to stay on in defiance and I would not be able to do anything. They thought that I would finally go to the police and then there would be record that the old man was occupying the children’s room. Later I found that he had placed things in every room upstairs. In one room he had his old shaving set, a soap dish and a used up soap. In another room he had some dirty towels. In another room he had an old bag and some of his things in it and so on. It was a calculated move by all of them together. They thought that I would go to bring the police. Then they could show that they were in fact occupying all the rooms upstairs. At that time I did not know that he had placed items in various rooms. By God’s grace he forgot his key on the door lock for a few minutes and I could get hold of it. When this plan backfired on them they put in operation their next plan and kept quiet for a while.

 

 

Demand for Rs 25 lakhs for vacating from my house

 

The repair work was progressing. But the Kudilan family was busy putting their next plan into action. While the repair work was halfway through Dushtan came to me and asked whether I was taking retirement and coming back. I told him that my wife and I would settle down in Ernakulam and the children would make frequent visits and I was taking retirement in early 2000 as soon as the repair work was over. Then he knew for sure that I was coming back. Then they decided to put their plans in action fast. Then one day the old man started shouting for nothing. He was using vulgar language at his wife in loud voice. From the actions I calculated that I would tell him to stop and then he could turn that type of language at me. I wanted to see what was his plan. I told him that he could not use that type of language in my house and either to shut up or get out from the house. The he shouted at me by using the same vulgar language. He said that he was not going to get out. If I wanted him and his family to be out I should give them Rs 25 lakhs. Their calculation was that I would be worried and frightened and I would start negotiating the amount. I reacted with anger and contempt. I told him that he was crazy, ungrateful slut, a man without conscience and that I would send him to a mental asylum if he did not stop. Others did not expect that type of reaction from me. They thought that I would be willing to negotiate the amount. Others then asked him to stop realizing that their plan backfired. Then Kundi started saying that the old man had gone out of his mind and they were planning to move out as soon as I planned to come back, and pacified the situation.

 

 

Rusted nail in my food

 

The Kudilan family was engaged to cook for me, wash my clothes etc. I was taking food cooked by them. Then one day while eating food I bit on something. Luckily I used to chew my food properly while eating. I took out the material from my mouth. I found that it was a piece of a small rusted nail, the type of nail used to nail plywood on the kitchen cabinet door. There were plenty of those in the kitchen and by 2000 the original nails were all rusted. A broken nail without the head was what I took out from my mouth. Kundi came immediately and took it out from me and claimed that it must have been in the curry powder. I did not think much of it at that time and I wanted it back to make a complaint to the curry powder manufacturers. She had already thrown it in the garbage bin and it could not be recovered. Still I did not think much about it. Then after a few days I bit again on something. I took it out from my mouth and found again another rusted piece of nail, a smaller one this time. Then Paanchaali came right away and took it away and threw it in the bin claiming that it was a piece of stone or something like that. With the second incident and with the speed by which the women disposed of the items I got very suspicious. I figured out that they were hoping that I would swallow the nail, the nail would hook on to my intestines and I would have a slow death, and everybody would think that it was stomach ulcer. They would have their homeo doctor to testify that I had stomach cancer and that he had diagnosed it long back. I decided to stop eating food cooked by them. From the next day onwards I started eating all my food from restaurants outside. When I stopped taking food cooked by them they knew that I would definitely check them out from my house and they decided to move faster.

 

 

The cobra coming out from the hideout

 

One day while I was doing some work in the TV hall upstairs, Dushtan came and said that he wanted to talk to me about something. First he said that they were planning to move out but needed another six months. I said that on several occasions I gave them six months at a time starting from 1996. Still they did not move out. He said that this was the very last of the six months. I said that under no circumstances I would give them any more time. Then he said that they were not planning to move out. He said that under the system existing in Kerala I would never be able to get them out of my house and it would be foolish on my part to try it also. He said that I might try to go to the police. He said that the whole police force in Kalamassery (local station) was working for him on many of his operations and no police would come to help me. Later events showed that he was correct on this point. Then he said that I might try to bring people from Palai and try to evict them by force. He said that it was not going to work because he was part of all goonda groups in Ernakulam and within seconds he could assemble any number of them and my relatives from Palai would not be able to step inside the compound even. Then he said that I might try to go to the Courts. He said that he was running cases for the last 10 years in Ernakulam and that he knew almost all judges and a good number of advocates. He could buy out any advocate that I would hire in Ernakulam and finally lose out in the courts. He said that he had good advocates who would delay and drag on the cases for twenty or more years. By that time I would be dead and gone. Three parts, of buying out some advocates, buying out some judges and delaying the cases, turned out to be correct. Then he said that he would see to it that I would lose all my name and reputation that I built up over the past 65 years, within six months itself. Then he said that he would, with the help of his friends in the police force, fabricate criminal cases against me and I would not be able to set foot in India after that. On this count also he was partly correct. [With the help of the local Police he fabricated an airtight criminal case against me but the Honorable High Court quashed it]. Then he said that what he could see was only one choice left for me. That was to quit the house quietly and never to come back to Ernakulam so that I could at least save my name and reputation.

Until he stated all these things he was calling me “uncle” and while talking he called me “thaan” (a disrespectful way of addressing a person). When he was telling me all these things the food that he ate on that very same day as well as on all the days since 21st July 1986 was paid for by me, the clothes that he was wearing while threatening me as well as all the clothes that he wore from 1983 onwards, from the time I started looking after their educational expenses, were paid for by me. I was shocked. I never knew that such ungrateful and deceitful people existed on Earth. I grew up in an atmosphere where everybody trusted each other and there was no occasion of a breach of trust. I realized that even the mythological character “Bhasmasur” was an angel compared to this fellow. I realized that I was feeding and nurturing cobras in my own house and I was the most foolish person by not recognizing the crooks in my own house.

Bhasmasur is a mythological character in Indian epics. He was an assur, opposite to the concept of angels in the Christian epics. This fellow decided to do an intense thapasya to Lord Shiva – a type of highly intensified ritualistic prayers and penance. Shiva is the Lord of Destruction under the Hindu concept of Trinity. If anyone did such a thapasya then the deity has to appear to him and give him the blessing that he asks for. This is the heavenly rule. Finally Lord Shiva appeared to Bhasmasur and asked him what he wanted. Bhasmasur wanted the blessing that if he touched anyone that person should reduce to ashes (bhasma). Lord Shiva had to give that blessing as per rule because the assur did all the thapasya as per rules. After getting the blessing Bhasmasur decided to put his hand on Lord Shiva himself and destroy Lord Shiva once for all and then Bhasmasur would be the only person capable of destroying things or that he would become God of Destruction, replacing Lord Shiva. Then Lord Shiva had to run for his life, and he ran to Lord Vishnu the God of Sustenance. Lord Vishnu duped Bhasmasur and made him touch himself and Bhasmasur became ashes. Evidently this is a mythological character because his name starts with “bhasma” or ashes and nobody would name a child foreseeing what would happen to him at the end. This epic only gives the worst form of living thing that one could imagine in ancient days. But from the actions to be described herein one can see that compared to Dushtan, Bhasmasur was still an angel.

After realizing that the Kudilan family was fooling me all these years and that they had no plan to vacate from my house, I decided to evict them through legal means. But then I had to leave for Canada on 28th February 2000 as scheduled because I had several international commitments during March to May 2000, and two engagements going up to July 2000. I thought of coming back to India in May 2000 and filing an eviction suit to get them out of my house.

 

 

John’s revelations to me

 

I had come to India in early December 1999 to do a major repair work to my house with a view to take early retirement and settle down at Ernakulam in January 2000 or by May 2000 at the latest. John also came to Ernakulam in late December 1999 with a view to take back his wife and children to Canada. By this time John had realized that he lost everything to the Kudilan family. I did not know any of these because he was not in touch with me either in Montreal, Canada, or while in India. He had nobody to turn to in Ernakulam. He could not get hold of his money in his account at the State Bank of India at Ernakulam because his wife would not cosign. He had to fight criminal cases against him that his wife and the Kudilan family filed with the local police. He needed a lot of money and a lot of local support even to get the basic justice in Kerala. He went to my former student, whom I had introduced to John, for help. He promised to give help. Anticipating that John might ask for help from my former student Mr K.N. Raveendran and from me, when they would file for divorce, Paanchaali and her brother had already written in and incorporated many defamatory and false statements about Raveendran and me in the divorce petition, which they had already prepared months ahead and waiting to file, and in their various police petitions also. Some of the details about the juicy stories will be given later. Finally John decided to talk to me and request me to help him. He was very reluctant to talk to me thinking that I believed the Kudilan family fully. Two small incidents gave him the courage to contact me.

One incident was that I was repainting the window grill, the garage gates etc to keep the iron grill work from getting rusted. One day I asked John to help me paint the grills. I knew that John would come and help because I was dealing with Europeans for 40 years by then. The general attitude among Europeans was to help wherever help was needed. Once my Greek friend was visiting my house in Montreal, Canada. He was a Full Professor in a leading university in USA at that time. He and his wife came for a short visit. Then he saw my back patio in a bad condition. I told him that I was waiting for a handyman because it was a heavy job of removing the heavy patio stones etc. He asked me whether I had a pickaxe. He was going to do it and stay a couple of days more to finish it. I did not allow him to do it because it was a much heavier job than what he expected. It needed brick work, cement work, concrete work etc. This was the usual spirit among the Europeans and hence I knew that John would come and help. John started painting the grills and took the opportunity to talk to me. During the four to five days we were painting together he realized that I was not the type of person the Kudilan family had portrayed to him.

The second incident was relating to my comments about his jeep. One day John had taken his Armada Jeep to get some patchwork done and to get it polished from the local auto workshop. The jeep was in excellent shape when it was brought back from the workshop. He requested me to give my opinion about the work. I checked the jeep and at one place a little bit work was to be done. I told him that the jeep looked new but a small crack in the paint remained. He should get that also done so that the jeep would be in perfect condition. He looked at me for a long time with great surprise. Later he told me that this small incident opened his eyes. He was made to understand by the Kudilan family that I was a very jealous person and hence he should not tell me anything especially about his money matters. When he saw that what I wanted was to have his jeep in perfect condition he realized that I was not a jealous person. In the same evening itself when I was alone and watching TV upstairs he came with a bundle of papers, gave the bundle to me requesting me to read them privately, prostrated at my feet and cried saying to forgive him for what he had done to me all these years. I was taken aback. I told him that he had not done anything against me that I knew of, and hence forget about it even if he had done something against me at any time without my knowing about it. Then he requested me to read the bundle, which were copies of some seven letters, some of them love letters that Paanchaali had written to him before marriage, and after reading the letters he would give me more if I wanted and then I should see the truth and help him.

Soon after receiving the bundle I went into the bedroom and read the seven letters. I was so shocked. Some of them were love letters in broken English written in early 1992 from which it was clear that there was physical contact between John, who was just a tourist visiting my house at that time, and Paanchaali, obviously persuaded and encouraged by her brother and parents. In another letter they were planning the strategy of keeping the marriage arrangements secret and in one letter they expressed the fear that I might torpedo their secret marriage arrangements if I came to know about it and therefore advising John not to contact me and not to talk to me while in Montreal. In one they were telling the truth that they always pretended to have love and respect for me and the reality was the other way around. In one she was sending a thousand kisses “all over”. In one, Paanchaali was telling John that he should not go to my office because she was trying to save him from “bad people”, meaning me. What was the crime that I committed to be so hateful to the Kudilan family by then? Her broken English, which enabled her to communicate with John at that time, was the education that I provided from 1983 onward. I had given them shelter in my house when they were destitute at Palai and looked after all their expenses from 1983 onwards until 2000. In one letter, they were planning the strategy that they were going to say that the marriage was all arranged by me, John was my friend from Montreal and I brought John to them to have an arranged marriage with Paanchaali. Later they put this version in their divorce petition in 2000 also. They were writing and doing all these things at my back while eating the food that I paid for every day and enjoying five-star accommodation in my house, and at the same time pretending as my trusted loyal servants and calling me “uncle”. I did not realize then that I was feeding cobras. From these letters it was very clear that they were planning to get hold of my house as soon as I decided to build it and entrust the Kudilan family to look after it. It was also clear that they were planning to cheat John out of all his life-savings and in order to avoid their plan from leaking out they did not want John to have any contact with me in Montreal or in India. It was also clear that the love affair was only a one-way traffic. There was love from John’s side but from the Kudilan family’s side it was a carefully planned move from the very beginning and the girl was being used to extract the life-savings from John and the girl was a willing participant in all these plans. At the same time, I trusted them 100% from 1983 onwards until the time John showed me those letters.

By this time I also came to know from John that he was made to sell all his assets in Montreal and he was asked to borrow the maximum possible on his credit cards. He sold all his assets in Montreal and borrowed $7000 on his credit cards and transferred all these to Ernakulam into the joint account of John and Paanchaali, where both signatures were needed to withdraw money from the account and that Paanchali was refusing to cosign. He also told me that he gave Rs 7.5 lakhs to buy the cardamom estate in Kurisupara, he gave Rs 2 lakhs loan to Dushtan, he gave nearly Rs 2 lakhs to buy the Armada Jeep and that the balance in the bank account was about Rs 6.5 lakhs because about Rs 6 lakhs were taken by Paanchaali and given to her brother before he put the condition that both signatures were needed to withdraw money from their joint account. These were all new revelations to me and I realized that the Kudilan family had already cheated John out of all his life-savings. By then the Kudilan family did not realize that John had shown me those letters.

 

 

The power of attorney

 

After seeing those letters that Paanchaali had written to John, as early in 1992 I was worried thinking that the Kudilan family was putting traps to trap me from 1986 onwards, from the very same day they came into my house. Then I was worried about a power of attorney that I had given in December 1994 to Dushtan. In December 1994, when I came to Kerala as usual, Dushtan came to me with a story that the corner house at the entrance of the private road in our enclave was bought by a lady medical doctor and that she obtained a court order to block the approach road to my house because that part of the road belonged to her building plot. I knew that there was a cross road in the original plan of the Real Estate Agent, who sold all the plots in the enclave, and that he had sold that road also at the end and hence there was a possibility that the story was correct. Since I was leaving for Canada at the end of December or early January, as usual, I decided to execute a power of attorney in favor of Dushtan to safeguard my interest in the approach road. According to him, all the residents were going to fight the medical doctor, the new owner at the corner, and he needed a power of attorney to join in the fight on my behalf. I gave the power of attorney. After seeing Paanchaali’s letters to John I was worried that Dushtan might have created other documents by using that power of attorney. The power of attorney was only to protect my house and properties and to pay the utility bills but it did not authorize him to do anything with the house or properties or to create encumbrances against the properties or house.

I asked Dushtan to return the power of attorney. He claimed to have misplaced it and that he did not have it with him. Hence I had to place a newspaper notice canceling the power of attorney (Exhibit A34) and also sent a registered letter to Dushtan (Exhibit A 33, A33) canceling the power of attorney. Meanwhile he also revealed to me that his main source of income was from illegal import of liquor from the neighboring States of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to Kerala. He was the agent responsible for bribing the excise officials at the borders and he would get a commission for every truck that crossed the border with the illegal alcohol. Hence in my registered letter to Dushtan I had also asked him not to do any illegal activity staying in my house.

 

 

Lesson number two

 

I have already described my first of many mistakes. That was allowing strangers to call me “uncle” and treating my servants as “my own” people and introducing them to others as “my own people”. The second lesson is that DO NOT HAVE BLIND TRUST IN ANYONE. There is a saying in the holy books of Christians and Muslims that if you have full faith and then if you ask a mountain to move the mountain will move. This is a logically correct statement. Full faith means without an element of doubt. Without an element of doubt nobody would be checking to see whether the mountain moved or not. As far as the faithful was concerned the mountain moved even though, in reality, the mountain stayed where it was originally. My trust in the Kudilan family, about their loyalty, sincerity, honesty and faithful service to me, was really blind. Due to my nature of believing people and believing in what people say, the Kudilan family could easily fool me and cheat me. My experience with them taught me a lesson not to have blind trust in anyone on Earth. Keep at least 5% room for elements of doubt. Do not take anybody’s words in toto but assume that some aspects could be wrong also. I grew up in a family and in a neighborhood where everybody trusted every other and there was no breach of trust. In 2000, there was an incident of my first cousin being cheated out of few thousand rupees for standing surety for a small loan. Thus the society had changed a lot for the worse. But nobody, not even my relatives, thought that there were people of the types of the Kudilan family, who had absolutely no conscience of any sort by refusing to keep their words and move out after receiving lakhs of rupees worth of free help from me.

 

 

Getting hold of my own car

 

I had given the Kudilan family permission to take out my car in case of medical emergency and not to misuse the car. The RC Book of the car (Ambassador Kl7 A 3136) was entrusted with Dushtan because the RC Book was needed to pay road tax, renewal of registration etc. By this time I recognized the real nature of the Kudilan family. But still they did not believe that John had told me many things and showed to me their letters. I asked Dushtan to return the RC Book of the car and the second set of the car keys to me. One set of keys was with me in my almirah. He claimed that those were with Paanchaali. She claimed that she did not have them. Then they claimed that the RC Book was misplaced and could not be found. Then I bought an iron chain and a strong padlock. Put the chain on the garage gate and locked the garage gate with the padlock. The next day Dushtan came with the RC Book claiming that it was found from his mother’s wooden chest. Then they requested me to remove the chain and the padlock from the garage gate because the neighbors would find it strange. I removed the chain. When I looked into the RC Book I was shocked. Even though money was regularly entrusted with Dushtan for paying the road taxes etc he had not paid it since he received the power of attorney from me and he was driving and misusing my car without paying any road tax. I asked him for the car insurance papers. He claimed to have misplaced that also. Then I went and paid around Rs 10,000/- (ten thousand) for the road tax arrears and went to the insurance agent and took a new policy for the car. Then I put a new lock at the garage gate and locked it up and did not give a spare key to them and prohibited them from using my car even for emergency. They later broke opened the garage and removed my car while I was in Canada.

 

 

Scare tactics

 

In the beginning days, after occupying the house in 1986, the contractor’s men were allegedly harassing the Kudilan family during my absence. Each time I came back from Trivandrum they had stories of voices and foot steps outside the building, men walking on the slabs covering the drainage and making noises, someone trying to enter through the back door at the work area of the house and so on. Dushtan claimed that he was afraid to stay on the ground floor. During the years 1987 to 1989 the contractor’s problem could have been there because that was the time when the contractor was trying to extort another Rs 2 lakhs from me. The DIG, Ernakulam had warned the contractor and that might have stopped the contractor’s problem.

Then the Kudilan family tried to use those incidents to scare me out of my own house. Each time when I was in the building Kundi and her son Dushtan used to come up with stories saying that during the previous night they heard people trying to enter the building. They claimed that the contractor’s men were trying to harm me or kill me. In the morning, as soon as I got ready to go out, even to the courtyard, either Paanchaali or Dushtan would come out with me claiming to be my protectors to watch out for outside attackers. As per their stories, people were trying to enter the house as soon as I slept. I believed them but I told them not to worry about it because I had designed the house taking into account possible thieves in Ernakulam area. To reach any bedroom a thief had to break at least two doors according to the design. People sleeping would hear the noise when the thieves break down at least one of the doors. I had even protective doors on the sides in the courtyard and hence nobody could even enter any of the courtyards except the front yard. I thought that thieves might be trying to enter the house, whenever I was in the house, thinking that I might be carrying a lot of money with me. But the Kudilan family insisted that they were not thieves but goondas sent by someone and trying to kill me. They claimed that the goodas might be sent by the contractor’s advocate, who had an eye on my house, as revealed by the workers. One morning Dushtan told me that someone had pelted a heavy stone at the window of my bedroom upstairs and the stone fell down in the compound. When he got up and put the lights the fellow or fellows ran away. In the next day Dushtan claimed that the fellows came back in the night and were trying to climb the mango tree from where one could come to the north side windows of my bedroom. He claimed that when he got up the fellows ran away. After hearing these stories I concluded that some thieves were persistent. After that I decided to close the windows on the northern side of my bedroom and keep the windows in the library open for cross ventilation fearing that if the thieves got into upstairs sunshades then they could use a long pole and catch hold of my shirts and pants in whose pockets I used to have a few hundred rupees always. Still I did not believe that someone was trying to kill me as claimed by the Kudilan family.

Then one morning Dushtan had asked me whether I heard any loud noise in the night. I did not hear anything. All the Kudilan family claimed that they all heard the noise something like a country bomb. Dushtan insisted that it was a country bomb that someone had thrown into my bedroom window, which fell into the neighbor’s vacant lot and burst into pieces. He insisted that we should search out for the splinters of the country bomb. We searched all around and found that someone had thrown a bottle into the garage and it had broken into pieces. I noticed that the bottle could not break like that if someone had thrown from the road. It looked like someone had thrown it standing only a few feet from the spot. If someone wanted to damage my car he could have easily damaged the car. But nothing had happened to the car. I figured out that someone wanted to scare somebody. In those days Dushtan had told me that he was involved in some money lending business. I told him that someone who borrowed money from him did it and he was trying to scare Dushtan and it had nothing to do with me. After that incident nobody had any story of people throwing country bombs at my bedroom window. But in 2000 when I looked back at these “incidents” I realized that the Kudilan family was trying to scare me out of my own house hoping that I would not come to my house at all fearing for my life. But when they were reporting about the so-called bomb throwing I honestly believed their stories but I could not find any logic in someone trying to kill me when I was in my house and then finally with the bursting of the bottle I concluded that someone was trying to scare Dushtan and not me. But now when I look back it was clear that no outsider had burst the bottle but Dushtan himself had burst the bottle by standing at the garage itself with the full knowledge of the whole Kudilan family.

 

 

Paanchaali’s divorce petition

 

While the Kudilan family was presenting me a picture of a perverted husband and an impossible marriage, and making me to write to John and to others, they were busy trying to get hold of the balance of John’s assets. While supposedly the marriage problem was at its worst, they persuaded John to buy an Armada Jeep in the name of Paanchaali and in early 1999 they persuaded John to give a loan of Rs 2 lakhs to Dushtan from his NRE account at the State Bank of India at Ernakulam. Since they brainwashed John thoroughly, he was never in touch with me in Montreal. Only very rarely he used to call me to invite me for some parties that he held. When the alleged marriage problem started in 1998 I had called John in Montreal and asked him to come to my office. He did not turn up because by that time he had branded me as his enemy due to my letter to him believing his wife’s version of events. Thus I had no way of hearing what John had to say in all this. They manipulated John to have no contact with me all these years. Their plan was to get hold of everything what John had and then to get rid off him and then blame me for the whole thing. While getting rid off John they also wanted to frame some criminal charges against John so that the children would be given to Paanchaali and John would be made to work throughout his life and transfer all the funds to Paanchaali in India in the name of supporting his children in India. Their plan almost worked. Only due to God’s hand they did not fully succeed in their carefully choreographed scheme over the years starting from 1992 the day they met John.

Dushtan had been preparing a divorce petition for a long time. All indications were there that he started it in 1995. He was perfecting it over the years because such a final product could not have been made in a few months. They were planning to file it as soon as I left for Canada because major part of the so-called divorce petition was to make a claim on my house as well as to tarnish my name. I was scheduled to leave for Canada on 28th February 2000. Here also God’s hands worked. The international social service agency was negotiating to settle the alleged dispute between Paanchaali and her husband. A local agency was acting on behalf of the international agency. The local agency came to the conclusion that the problems were due to the constant presence of Paanchaali’s brother and parents with her. The agency’s suggestion was that Paanchaali, John and the children should rent a place of their own and move out from my house. The local police sub inspector suggested this also. When the Kudilan family claimed about the marital problems by the end of 1998 I had suggested that either Paanchaali, John and their children move out from my house or Dushtan and his parents move out of my house. Since I believed their stories I figured out that the main source of the problem was Paanchaali’s brother and parents and hence if the John family were alone on their own then the problems would be over. Thus the local police, the local social service agency and myself suggested the same remedy. Then Dushtan used the same strategy, which he had been using all through his life very successfully, with the local social service agency also. First he and his sister went to the agency and made out a story that if John, Paanchaali and the children were on their own then there would be nobody to protect Paanchaali and children because, according to them, John was very violent. Since there was no case or sign or report of violence from 1992 onwards, from the time of marriage until the end of 1998, nobody, including the local police and the social service agency, bought this thesis. Then their second strategy was put into action. They agreed to the social service agency’s suggestion and told them that the John family would be moving out in a couple of weeks. Believing them, the social service agency reported to the international agency that the marital problems were to be settled right away because Paanchaali agreed to the formula that the agency suggested.

What the Kudilan family wanted was a report from the local agency to the international agency that the problems were solved. This worked. Then they wanted to portray John as a violent person. Paanchaali, supported by her brother, filed criminal complaints with the local police claiming that one day John hit her, beaten her and dragged her on the floor throughout my house, holding by her hair. Seeing this, her parents intervened. Then John hit her parents with a telephone and other items. Then local police were obviously bribed to frame a criminal case. Police came and did the so-called “investigation” and concluded that their complaints were “genuine” and a criminal case was charged against John. Then they went to the local social service agency and reported about the criminal case against John. The agency called John and talked to him and concluded that the criminal complaints were fabricated and the agency insisted that they should keep their word and the John family must move out from my house and go to a rented place. The agency gave a few more days to move out. After that time limit was over, the agency concluded that Paanchaali and her brother took them for a ride. The agency wrote a last and final letter to Paanchaali saying that the local agency was going to report to the international agency that the problem was with Paanchaali and that the atmosphere in the Kudilan family was not conducive to bring up mentally healthy children and hence the agency was going to suggest to remove the children from the Kudilan family. This letter came by the middle of February 2000.

It was certain that the social service agency was going to act and that the children would be taken out of the Kudilan family and either given to John, or taken to Canada or entrusted with some other agencies. Since Paanjaali had no intention of moving out from her brother there was only one choice left. That was to file the already prepared and kept divorce petition right away rather than waiting for my departure from India. They filed the petition by the middle of February 2000 and John got a copy from the court towards the end of the third week of February. Even while filing the divorce petition and the various criminal complaints against John, Paanchaali was staying with John in the same room, and as per John’s evidence they were having regular and uninterrupted sex life also.

 

 

A divorce petition filled with filth of the worst kind

 

If they had succeeded in filing the divorce petition after I had left for Canada and then if someone had informed me that there were many defamatory statements about me I would not have realized the gravity and seriousness. Also if someone had told me that there were claims on my house in the divorce petition I would have taken it as not important because a divorce between Paanjaali and John had nothing to do with my house. Only by God’s grace they were compelled to file the divorce petition before I left for Canada.

John got an official copy of the divorce petition from the court by the end of the third week of February 2000. Then immediately he brought it to me. He was surprised to see claims made on my house and so much filth written into the petition. After reading the petition I was shocked. It was clear from the petition that the Kudilan family was trying to get hold of my house from the first day that they heard that I was going to allow them to come to my house at Ernakulam in 1986.

The divorce petition, O.P.No.5136/2000, filed by Paanjaali, wife of John, started with the story that in the year 1983 I came to India for the first time after I left for Canada in 1961 (I had been visiting India, Palai St Thomas College, every year from 1964 to 1983, except 1965). I searched out for my relatives. In 1983 I went to Kudilan’s place, narrated “all my adventures in Canada” and then said that I owned a building plot in Edappally in Ernakulam (which I had bought in 1981). They claimed that I suggested to Kudilan why not build a house on my plot and move to Ernakulam so that they would have a bright future and the brother of Paanjaali could do some business. Since he had already retired as an “Assistant Librarian” (he was a peon/attender, Exhibit A47 ) from St Thomas College Palai and since he was not doing anything (later they were going to say that he was running dairy farms, vegetable garden, rubber nursery, banana garden etc) he thought that it was a good idea. Hence by using his own funds (he had no money or assets except his Rs 202/- per month pension at that time, Exhibit B1) Kudilan built a house on the plot owned by me. After finishing the ground floor they started living in it (The design of the house is such that there is a floor to roof dome at the center and hence without finishing the whole structure nobody could live in it because the rain water would be falling inside). Then the “brother of Paanjaali” by using his own funds finished the first floor and completed the house (He was 17 years old at that time, a student and without any source of income of his own as per his own admission elsewhere, (Exhibit B8, B8 (a), B8 (b), B8(c)). Then additional constructions were made for my stay in their house whenever I visited India (There was no additional construction of any sort at any time. The house was finished at one stretch of construction). One thing is interesting here. Dushtan always referred himself as “brother of Paanjaali” and not as son of Kudilan because he was aware of the repeated public statements Kudilan made about who begot them.

Then the divorce petition went into the marriage. As per the divorce petition, I brought a mentally deranged John from Montreal and forced a marriage on the daughter of Kudilan (In the previous paragraph they had already stated that I was only an occasional guest in their house and there was no possibility of an occasional guest forcing the house owner to get his daughter married to a mentally deranged foreigner whom they met for the first time and there was no reason for the house owner to accept such a force either). The petition also claimed that John was a sexual pervert and that I was fully aware of that. The petition also claimed that Dushtan was fully against the marriage (In her own letter to John before marriage, Paanjaali stated that all of them were in favor of the proposed marriage and only the five of them, including John, knew about it and John should not tell me about it in Montreal (Exhibits A24-A27). Then the petition claimed that being uneducated and naive villagers they succumbed to my pressure (Later they were going to say that they were running rubber nursery, dairy farms, vegetable gardens etc and making a net profit of Rs 1 lakh per year starting from 1965, (naïve villagers would not be able to manage such a large agricultural operation. Hence they could not be naïve villagers). Also John had produced letters to fight against the divorce petition showing that Paanchaali, her brother and parents were eagerly waiting for the proposed marriage and she was sending him “million kisses all over” during that waiting period. Then the story went to say that on the wedding night itself she wanted to divorce her husband, the marriage was not consummated for six months and that she had only a total of three sexual intercourses with her husband in her whole life, which resulted in two children being born to her! (Such miracles could only happen with the Kudilan famly and would be believed only by the Indian judicial system). Her own letters were produced by John to show that the marriage was a normal happy marriage, it was consummated on the wedding night itself, they had regular sexual intercourses, she was waiting in panic when John had to go back for a short while due to the demise of his father, and that they had no marital problems of any sort from 1992 until she started to claim about marital problems from the end of 1998 onwards. Even as late as 1997 John spent Rs 7.5 lakhs to buy 7.68 acres of cardamom estate in Kurisupara, in 1997 or early 1998 John spent nearly Rs 2 lakhs to buy an Armada Jeep in his wife’s name and in early 1999 John gave Rs 2 lakhs loan to Dushtan. John, Paanjaali and later the children were sleeping in the same room from 1992 till March 2000. These were not the acts of a couple in uncompromising marital conflict.

 

 

Vulgarities and filth in the divorce petition

 

From the divorce petition it was clear that the main aim was to put a claim on my Edappally house and to bring in all sorts of vulgarities and filth so that no decent advocate would take up the matter to oppose. I was portrayed as a morally bankrupt villain who had destroyed the lives of many girls and one girl even committed suicide. The divorce petition also claimed that I was directing John to do all sorts of atrocities against his wife, her brother and parents and that my student Raveendran was also a party in it. The only atrocities John ever committed against his wife and her brother and parents were that he loved them blindly, he showered them with gifts, he bought Rs 2 lakh worth of gold for them, he gave Rs 2 lakhs loan to her brother upon request from all of them, he bought 7.68 acres of cardamom estate and allowed to be registered in their names, he allowed the building plot that I gave to build their own house to be registered in his wife’s name, he bought soda maker, ice cream maker and many other luxury items for them, he brought all his-life savings plus borrowed money and put in a joint account in the State Bank of India at Ernakulam. These were the so-called atrocities that he committed against them and under my direction!

The filth went to unimaginable extent. There was a detailed description of video taping the birth scene. In 1997, the time when I trusted the Kudilan family blindly, Paanjaali stated that she had a video of her giving birth to her second child. I was shocked. No decent woman would allow anyone to take video of her private parts and that too while giving birth. I scolded her for allowing such a thing. This was apparently done in 1996. I was not aware of her second pregnancy and second child birth and I came to know of that only in March 1997 when her brother Dushtan wrote to me to Montreal (Exhibit A28) saying that she had a second child, she, her two children and John were in my house at Edappally. From all documents available in 2000 to 2002 period it was clear that the serious planning for the divorce petition started towards the second half of 1995. Most probably the video of her private parts was taken due to instructions from her brother because the gory details were written into the divorce petition to fit into a horrible tale of perverted sex and immoral activities. Then the divorce petition claimed that I had a copy of the video and the video-taping was done as per my instruction. They continued with this story in the courts in Ernakulam until I gave my testimony in the court that Canada was not an uncivilized country where any stranger could order taking video of the private parts of a woman and become the owner of such a video tape. I explained to the courts that a woman’s written consent was needed for the presence of anyone in the delivery room, except the attending physician and nurse, let alone taking video films. Obviously Paanchaali made the request to take the video before she went into the labor room to give birth to her second child.

The divorce petition also portrayed John as a pervert who was interested only in un-natural and oral sex, a homosexual and a child molester. In a letter written to the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi (part of Exhibit A49) Paanjaali described in graphic detail about the perverted sexual activities, supposedly of John. Such activities were never heard of and I was sure that John himself was hearing of such things for the first time in his life. Obviously the description was about their own childhood experiences in their own family. It was difficult to believe that someone could make up such details from imagination without having some personal experience.

Their line of approach was to put all blames for the marriage and marriage breakdown on me, make me write all types of complaints against John, then get rid off John and marry the former alter boy at Edappally church, who was wooing Paanjaali (as per the circular sent out by John), so that he and his gang at Edappally would be there to support them against me. Then file a case or force me out of my house and claim that I had promised to give them the house if Paanjaali got rid off her husband.

As mentioned earlier, I had already written two letters to be given to John. But due to my nature of not hurting anyone, those letters mostly contained my advice to patch up the marital problems. But it was clear from the letters that I had believed the version given by the Kudilan family about John’s alleged sexual perversions. I had also sent e-mail to their advocate giving my opinions. They had collected this also from the advocate. But unfortunately for them, that e-mail also contained my genuine concern about the future of the children if the marriage broke down. Hence they could not use that e-mail against me. If there was time delay, then they would have persuaded me to write to Canadian and Indian authorities giving their version and such letters could easily fit into their design of making me the villain. But with God’s grace my conscience told me to wait and talk to John in person before I approached the authorities on behalf of Paanjaali and her brother and parents. Luckily John himself came to me with apologies and gave me copies of the letters written by Paanjaali and her brother Dushtan to John, about which I had already mentioned earlier. While they were persuading me to write against John, they were persuading John to write against me claiming that only because of my insistence that they were trying to get rid off John. Unfortunately John fell into the trap and wrote to Canadian and Indian authorities as well as to the national and international social service agencies blaming me for all their marital problems and saying that I was holding up his wife and children at my Edappally house against their will etc. Later John told me that he did all these and he wanted my forgiveness. Their strategy would have worked very well and all the pieces were falling in at the right places and fitting in well and a very solid foundation was being made. But unfortunately, John talked to me and we became on talking terms, which prevented their scheme coming to its final stages. Due to their greed they tried to get rid off John too soon and that destroyed their grand scheme.

The readers may wonder whether it is possible to put such defamatory and utterly false materials in a written petition in an honorable court in India. I was also under the impression that such matters would be taken up seriously and the petitioners would be severely punished. In any other country it is likely that the petitioners would be put behind bars for filing falsehood and for degrading the judicial system. But in India nothing of that happened. Not only that, years were wasted in discussing such things and in defending against such falsehood and defamatory statements.

 

 

Selection of my first advocate: my big mistake and a very foolish act

 

When John got a copy of the divorce petition he had to select an advocate to defend the divorce petition. John got a list of recommended advocates in Ernakulam from the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi. We took that list to my former advocate, who conducted the contractor’s cases for me, as well as to my student who was public prosecutor of CBI in Ernakulam. Among the list of four or five names the best was supposed to be one from near Ernakulam South Railway Station, one person named Homer (not the real name). John and I went to him with a recommendation from my student over the phone. This advocate agreed to take up the defense of the divorce suit on behalf of John.

I was planning to file a suit to evict the Kudilan family from my house by May 2000, after I came back from abroad. This was my plan before their divorce petition came to my notice. In the light of their claims on my house in the divorce petition I had to act faster also. I had asked my advocate, who handled the contractor’s cases, and his opinion was to send a lawyer’s notice before I left for abroad on 28th February 2000 and file an eviction suit when I came back in May 2000. But John’s advocate Homer told me that it would be foolish to send a lawyer’s notice in February 2000 and then wait until May 2000 to file a suit, and I should file an eviction suit right away. According to him the Kudilan family could get an injunction order against me and I would not be able to enter into my own house when I came back in May 2000. Since I would be coming with John to Homer for the divorce case almost daily, because John’s English was not good and someone had to be with him to clarify things to his advocate, I decided to take Homer also to file an eviction suit on my behalf.

All through my life I never wanted to have anything to do with advocates, courts and police. I could survive 65 years without these. Then in February 2000 I was compelled to hire an advocate to try to get justice from the court system in India. Homer wanted me to give the full story from the beginning. I gave the story in detail and told him that the Kudilan family was my servants and caretakers of my house. They had permission to use 3 rooms on the north wing of the building. It was not for exclusive use and I used to check those rooms periodically to make sure that the rooms were not misused or they did anything in the rooms against my instructions. They were not permitted to stick or hang anything on the walls in those rooms. They had permission to enter into every room in the house for cleaning and washing purposes and I had kept one key on the keyhole in every door of the house for that purpose. Three-lever Godrej locks were there on every main door. Such a lock had only two keys. One set of the keys was locked in my almirah and the other set was there on every door. The Kudilan family was not related to me. I treated them and looked after them as members of my own family. They claimed to be related to my elder uncle’s wife but I never checked whether the claim was correct or not until 2000. After filing the eviction suit I checked and found that their story of a relationship to my aunt’s family was incorrect also.

After hearing the full story he said that he could evict the Kudilan family from my house within a few months. If he did not succeed, he would not be practicing law in Ernakulam anymore. He said that he could not frame the case saying that they were my servants and caretakers of my house because that would imply that they had access to the whole house. I said that they had access to every room for cleaning purposes and not for any other use. He said that I had to say that they were my relatives because in the power of attorney that I had given to Dushtan in 1994 I had described him as my nephew. I said that it was done because they claimed to be related, but I never checked that claim at that time, and I could explain the truth in the courts. He said that it would contradict and I would lose unless I agreed to frame the case, as he wanted if I wanted to evict them from my house within a few months.

That was my first experience with filing a case in a court system and I thought that the advocate knew better and I should agree to make the case as he pleased. At that time, I did not even know what was meant by an “affidavit”, “O.S.”, “O.P”, “I.A.”, “court commission”, “injunction” etc. He told me that he had to file an “O.S” in the Sub Court at Ernakulam, he had to show a low valuation for my house, otherwise I would have to pay a very heavy court fee, and take a “commission” and that he would get an injunction against the Kudilan family and they would be confined to the three rooms. By the time we met Advocate Homer it was already 22nd or 23rd of February 2000 and I was scheduled to leave for abroad on 28th February 2000. Hence there was no time for detailed discussion either. He said that he would file a case on 24th, the case would be heard on 25th, he would get an injunction against the Kudilan family on 25th itself, a commission would visit my house on 26th and the Kudilan family would be confined to three rooms, then I could hire and post security guard at the house on 27th and leave for Canada on 28th as planned. I had complained about the Kudilan family destroying my expensive furniture, Paanjaali’s children disfiguring the interiors of my house, Paanjaali and her brother and parents making the children put glue and stick papers on my expensive furniture etc. He told me that the commission would take an inventory of every item in every room. I thought that the purpose of the commission was to check the damages caused to my house and furniture by the Kudilan family.

The second point that the advocate wanted to include in the suit was that the kitchen, work area and dining room were in their control. I told him that they were my servants and cooks and they were allowed to use the kitchen to cook for me and they were not allowed to use the dining room except to serve me food there and I had put a good table and six chairs in the kitchen itself for their use. The advocate insisted to include kitchen and work area under their control, otherwise it would look contradictory in the suit. Upon my insistence he wrote it up saying that they could use the kitchen and work area without interfering with my use and I was paying them lavishly for the food cooked by them. From the framing of the case it sounded like that he was making them as partners in my house and giving them exclusive control of the whole of the ground floor. I told him that from a commonsense point of view it did not sound well. He said to leave the legal matters to him if I wanted to get rid off them from my house. He again repeated that if he did not get rid off them within a few months he would not be practicing law in Ernakulam. When he repeated the statement I was happy that he would get rid off the Kudilan family from my house within three or four months and by the time I came back from Canada in May 2000 they would be out of my house. In such a situation in Canada one could get the squatters evicted within that time through courts.

 

 

The arrival of a court commission

 

My advocate did not tell me what the commission meant for and what was the real purpose of the commission and what I should be saying or what I should not be saying to the commission. I was under the impression that the commission was coming to take an inventory of items in the house and to check the damages but the commission was really coming to establish the portions of my house in my control and in the control of the Kudilan family. Again, God’s hands worked here. When John and I were going to the advocates, the Kudilan family figured out that something was happening. Since they were taking legal advice for a long time to wrest my house out of me, their legal advisors might have told them that my first step would be to take out a court commission to establish my possession of my house. Their legal advisors must have told them to lock up all rooms and take control of the keys. On 22nd or 23rd of February 2000 Paanjaali locked up all the doors upstairs, except the master bedroom door, and took away the keys, which had been placed on the doors for cleaning purposes. They could not lock up the master bedroom because I had not placed a key on that door after I evicted Kudilan from the master bedroom sector, as I had described earlier. Thus the Kudilan family was under the impression that they had locked me out of my own house except from the master bedroom. This would be consistent with their version in their divorce petition also. In that petition and in their written statement they were claiming that they were allowing me to use one room only whenever I visited them at Ernakulam. Thus, happily they were waiting for the court commission to come. If they had removed the keys on 26th morning then I would have been in real trouble.

The Kudilan family did not realize or forgot that I had kept one set of keys of every door in the house in my locked almirah in the master bedroom. After Paanjaali removed the keys of all the doors upstairs I checked my original diary and the set of keys in my almirah. I had a list of all key numbers in the original diary, which I had made when the house was built. The Kudilan family did not know about the existence of this diary; otherwise they would have removed that diary long back. I memorized the key numbers and made the keys into bundles, one set of all keys for upstairs, one set for downstairs, one set for servants’ quarters. I did not care about the keys of small doors and showcases, built-in almirahs etc, even though I had one set of those also in my locked almirah. I kept these bunches of keys in my pants’ pockets and waited for the commission. My aim was only that I should be able to open any door on my own but I never knew that the aim of the commission was to establish possession. If I knew that beforehand, then I could have shown my possession of every room in the house including the rooms allowed to be used by them by opening them with the help of the keys in my pocket and then entering all key numbers in the commission report.

The commission came in the evening of Saturday the 26th February 2000. I took the commissioner, first to the rooms allowed to be used by them in the north wing. This I did it just to go about it in a systematic way without knowing that I did the right thing. By God’s grace this also worked in my favor later because that showed that the rooms were not given for exclusive use, and I had access and control over those rooms as well. My advocate Homer had not included that in the request for the Commission. First, the defendants (Kudilan family) refused to accept the court notice. Then calls went back and forth and finally their advocate advised them to accept the notice. Every item of furniture in the house was bought and paid for by me except a few items. I thought that John bought those items but later in 2002 I came to know that my son bought those items when he was in my house during the 1992-1993 period for one year. In each room the commissioner took inventories. In each room I said that such and such item was not paid for by me. There were a few items like that in all the rooms downstairs and in the TV room upstairs. After I mentioned a few of them the assistant to my advocate, who came with the commissioner, told me secretly not to tell that some items did not belong to me. I told him that I wanted only the truth. Then while finishing the inspection of the north wing my advocate’s assistant asked me for the keys of the kitchen and dining room. I did not know the reason. I gave that bunch to him. He could only lock the two doors of the dining room by the time the commissioner came. Then I could open those doors with the keys. In upstairs I could open up all the rooms, which were locked and the keys removed by Paanchaali, by using my own keys. Then the commissioner stopped without checking the dining room, kitchen, storeroom, work area, switchboard room etc. Apparently my advocate had purposely omitted kitchen, dining room, storeroom and work area from the inspection, and clearly acceding possession to the defendants. In fact, by luck, I started with the north wing rooms allowed to be used by them thinking that the purpose of the commission was to take inventory of the furniture. Practically the whole of the ground floor was omitted from the request by my advocate to establish possession of each party. Thus, by God’s grace I could establish my possession of the whole of upstairs, and dining room and garage on the ground floor. Upon my request to see the poor condition of my kitchen the commissioner had noted that the kitchen floor was in a poor condition but he did not take the inventory of nearly Rs 2 lakhs worth of kitchen items including fridge, stove with rotisserie, vacuum cleaner, grinders, expensive utensils, pots, pans. One teakwood table with six teakwood chairs for the use of Kudilan family etc because he said that those were not in the request. Later events confirmed that my advocate (Homer) was purposely trying to put the whole of the ground floor, the furniture therein and all the expensive kitchen items in the possession of Kudilan family so that the case should sound like two relatives trying to split the house into upstairs and downstairs and that he could drag the case for years to come and extort money from me until I die and then he could collect some money from the Kudilan family and hand over my house to them with the blessing of the courts. To a common man, it did not make sense that my own advocate asking the court to establish which portion of my house is in my possession, and that too after obtaining an injunction order against my servants. Later in 2002 the defendants had removed and taken away all these kitchen items when they were evicted from the kitchen sector. No inventory of items in the kitchen, work area and storeroom was taken because apparently they were also not in the request from my advocate (Homer) for the first commission.

Then when the commission report came I noted that whatever the servants said were recorded as such by the commissioner and most of what I said were not recorded, especially my statement that what the servants were saying were all falsehoods. The commissioner could not be blamed because there were at least three and often four of the servants talking at the same time and I was the only one talking from my side and hence naturally he heard only what the servants were saying and he did not put any sort of control over it. He should have allowed only one from among the servants to talk when I was only one person talking. I pointed this out to Homer and asked him whether there was any provision to file a petition to make corrections in the report or to amend the report or in some way record my objections to the report. He said that there was no such provision in law and in fact the commission report was sacred like a court verdict and one had to accept everything as written in the report. The commissioner appeared to be very friendly to the squatters, which I found it strange at that time. When I removed Homer and took Jack (not the real name) as my advocate the first thing he did was to file an objection to the commission report and then only I knew that there was provision to file objections. This is another incident to confirm my feeling that as soon as I took Homer as my advocate he decided to make my case as weak as possible so that there would be a good chance of dragging it on for years and extort the maximum possible amount of money from me.

 

 

Missing documents

 

After telling the story of my life, my meeting the peon Kudilan in 1953 at the College etc my advocate told me to bring all tax receipts, utility receipts, building plan, building permit, deeds of purchase of the plots etc because they were to be included while filing the eviction suit. I came home right away to take these items to my advocate. For keeping the receipts I had made several pigeonholes in one of the built-in almirahs in the master bedroom. Other documents such as sales deeds, building plan etc were kept in the locked almirah in the master bedroom. I found that the defendants had removed all these items long before. Most probably these were removed in December 1999 when I started doing the major repair work and when I told the defendants that I was definitely coming back as soon as the repair work was completed. In July 1999 when I was looking for something I noted that some insects had started eating up the corners of my original 1985 sales deed. I had put it in a clear plastic envelope, sealed it and placed it back there. Thus that sales deed was there in July 1999. I am sure that all the documents were removed during December 1999 when only one almirah was locked and the keys of all other almirah and main doors were on the doors for cleaning purposes. Apparently they had made duplicate keys of my locked almirah and the duplicate keys were in their possession already. I could find only some photocopies of some of the documents, which were luckily in one bundle in connection with the contractor’s case. There were only one original of land tax receipt, one original of corporation tax receipt and few originals of the 1986 electricity bill payments. These two original land tax and corporation tax receipts happened to be there by chance. After Paanjaali married John and left for Canada I had entrusted the tax payments and utility payments to her brother the 4th defendant (Dushtan) in the eviction suit. Paanjaali was the 3rd defendant, Kudilan the first defendant and his wife Kundi the second defendant. After a few years I had suspicion that the 4th defendant was collecting money from me but not paying the taxes. Hence I had asked for the original receipts on two occasions. I collected them and kept them in the bundle by mistake rather than in the pigeonhole. Thus, I got two original tax payment receipts. The 1986 electricity bills were taken to Montreal because I thought that I needed the utility payment bills when I was on a sabbatical leave. But those were not needed and hence I brought them back and these were in a separate envelope among miscellaneous papers. Hence the defendants could not take those. I could never imagine that the defendants would remove all these documents because they were behaving as very trusted loyal servants at that time. I thought that I might have taken the house deeds by mistake to my brother’s place in Malabar. In August 1999 I had taken the sales deeds of my properties in northern parts of Kerala to my brother’s place because those were needed there very often for something or the other. I would be abroad when the papers were needed for something. Hence I decided to keep them with one of my brothers nearby there so that the papers would be accessible when I would be abroad. Before accusing the Kudilan family of taking my house papers I wanted to make sure that I did not take those papers to my brother’s place.

Meanwhile I had noted that my photo albums, which were in an unlocked almirah, were missing from there. The defendants claimed that they were removed for safekeeping and they would be returned to me. I noticed that the sales deeds and receipts were missing only when I looked for them on 23rd or 24th for filing the eviction suit. Then 25th, 26th, 27th were eventful and I had no chance of making sure that the documents were removed by the defendants and not taken to my brother’s place by me by mistake. I could verify only after I came back from Canada on 19th March 2000 and I searched all around and realized that not only the sales deeds but all relevant papers connected with my house had been already removed by the defendants to prevent me from filing an eviction case, which they were anticipating. My advocate Homer told me that I needed only at least one each of the originals of the land tax receipt, corporation tax receipt and utility payments in my name to file the suit. Other receipts could be in the form of photocopies, and certified copies could be produced later. Again, by God’s grace I had just the minimum number of receipts needed to file the eviction suit. As per the legal advice obtained by the defendants they had removed all the papers connected with my house already, well in advance when I trusted them 100%. Thus, their plan of preventing me from filing an eviction suit was foiled by God’s intervention.

 

 

Posting of the first watchman at my house

 

As per the advice of Advocate Homer the next step was to post a watchman at my house on 27th February 2000 before I left on 28th morning. He arranged a watchman from one agency called Menon Securities in Ernakulam. The fellow came in the morning. I gave him a chair to sit on the front veranda and instructed him to watch the defendants from going upstairs. By that time there was an injunction order served on them preventing them from entering any place upstairs and from entering any room on the ground floor except the three rooms allowed to be used by them, kitchen and work area. The watchman was asked to make a note and report to me, and in my absence to Advocate Homer. He was not asked to stop the trespass physically because one man could not prevent or stop the trespass of four hefty people. After posting the watchman John and I went to see Homer to have a last minute discussion before I left for Canada. When I hired him as my advocate to evict the Kudilan family from my house I had asked him how much it would cost to do that (total cost for eviction). He had given an estimate of the total cost as Rs 50,000/-. I had a cheque with me for the total cost of Rs 50,000/- because I would be abroad for 3 to 4 months and by that time, as per his original assurance, the Kudilan family would be evicted. He wanted it in cash but I had no cash with me and hence I told him that I would be giving him a cheque. I had some additional amount with me to be given to Homer on behalf of John because John could not take any money out from his bank account because his wife refused to cosign the withdrawal slip.

Before reaching Homer’s place, Homer called on the mobile phone of John asking us to go back to the house because there was some problem with the watchman and the watchman had called him from an outside telephone booth. We turned around the Armada Jeep and went back to my house.

 

 

Physical attack on John and me

 

As soon as the jeep reached the front gate Dushtan and his sister Paanchaali (4th and 3rd defendants) started shouting obscenities at us standing at the font veranda of my house. John had his video camera with him. He started filming the scene. Then they ran out to the jeep with stones to kill us. They had already thrown out the watchman and beaten him. He ran out for his life and called Advocate Homer. The 4th and 3rd defendants started to hit at the front and side glasses of the jeep to break them to get at us. The jeep had flexi glass windows and the windows could not be broken with stones. John’s camera was still running. One was standing in front and the other at the back so that we would not be able to take the jeep out without running over them. John’s children were also at the front veranda crying out loud and in great shock seeing their father being attacked by their mother and mother’s brother and trying to kill their father. Unmindful of the children’s cries Paanjaali shouted to her mother to go inside the house and bring a vakkathi (a type of machete for chopping things). While Dushtan and Paanchaali were attacking us, their parents, the first and second defendants, were standing at the front veranda shouting obscenities at us without caring about how the scene would affect their grandchildren’s mental health. The second defendant Kundi ran inside the house to bring the vakkathi as ordered by her daughter and son. John did not understand Malayalam and he was still filming the scene from inside the jeep. I told him that his mother-in-law had gone inside to bring a vakkathi to chop us and kill us and hence we must escape from the place. He tried to move the jeep but his wife was at the back and his brother-in-law at the front. The jeep had to be backed out and he shouted at his wife to move. She did not. He decided to run over her if she did not move and backed out. She moved. We went straight to the local police station at Kalamassery.

 

 

Help from the local police, my first experience with the local police

 

That was the first time that I went to a police station in my life for getting police help in India. I expected the police to come to our help immediately as it was customary in Canada. Since John’s English was not good I explained what happened and I even told the SI (sub inspector of police in charge of the police station) that if there was any doubt about our story then the whole scene was there in the video camera, which could be viewed from the camera’s side screen. The SI laughed at us and remarked about John in Malayalam that he was a “sexual pervert” and a “child molester”, the version already given to them by Paanjaali and her brother Dushtan. That was the time I realized that what Dushtan had told me was correct that I could not expect any help from the local police because the local police were part of his various operations. In a derogatory manner the SI joked with the policemen saying that the “pervert” foreigner thought that it was Canada where he could go with a video camera and give evidence and he joked saying to his policemen that the “pervert” (meaning John) had a foreigner helper (meaning me) also. This was my first experience and this first experience with the Kerala police shattered my faith in them. This was the first in a series of events of the same type later on. I told the SI that we would like to make a written complaint and he should at least see the video. He flatly refused to see the video and told us to come back in the evening by that time he could check with Dushtan and Paanjaali and get the “correct picture” of events. He refused to accept any written complaint from us and told us to come back in the evening. After that, some policemen were curious to see the video. They saw the whole scene and commented in Malayalam that Dushtan and Paanjaali did very well and they even praised the courage of Paanjaali to attack her husband like that. That was the reaction from the police.

In the evening we returned to the Kalamassery police station with the same video camera. As soon as we reached the station the same SI jokingly told his policemen that the foreigners were coming with the video camera and they might be coming to take their video film this time. By this time Paanjaali and Dushtan were seated in the SI’s office. The SI told me point-blank that he investigated the events and his only order was that I should immediately withdraw the watchmen from my house and I should give that in writing. Otherwise he was going to charge a case against my watchman for molesting the women and I should be present in Ernakulam while he processed the case. He also added that if I wanted to leave for Canada the next day (28th) as scheduled, then I should give in writing that I was withdrawing my watchman from my house. Then he also added that he was ordering me to do that for my own protection also since I did not know the procedures in Kerala. He said that if I left for Canada after posting the watchman at my house then the women would file a complaint of molestation when I would be abroad. The police would not be able to do anything other than to arrest my watchman and put in jail for molestation because it would be one man’s (watchman’s) word against the testimonies from 4 (the defendants) or more (false witnesses). I later realized that what the SI was saying was correct from his experience of what could happen. There was no choice for me other than to give in writing that I was withdrawing my watchman. Soon after that we went to our Advocate Homer. He also said that he could not do anything about it and the only way left was to withdraw the watchman and leave for Canada. So I had to withdraw my watchman and I left for Canada the next day. This was the first step backward. The reader may imagine the situation where one could not even post a security man in his own house in Kerala!

 

 

Break-in by the defendants

 

Soon after I reached Montreal I got e-mail message from John saying that the defendants broke opened my garage gate and took away my car. The 4th defendant had gone with my car and he did not come back yet. I replied to the e-mail requesting him to keep me posted about the developments. Then I got e-mail from Homer’s office saying that my car was still missing and had not come back. It also appeared that the defendants had broken into the house also. I got another e-mail from John saying that the 4th defendant and my car had not come back to the house yet and most probably my car was sold. I got e-mail message from my nephew Dr Vincent Mathew saying that Homer called my cousin’s place and told that the defendants broke opened the garage gate, took away the car, the car was still missing and apparently they had broken into my house also. Then I called Homer over the phone from Montreal and requested him to file a criminal complaint against the defendants on my behalf. He told me that for making a criminal complaint I myself had to do it and it could not be done through a power of attorney. I had given a power of attorney to his friend, as per his suggestion so that Homer would be able to file things on my behalf when I would be abroad. He also added that the damages to the house, garage etc could be ascertained only if I came back and he advised me to come back to Ernakulam by the first available flight.

I went to my travel agent. The first available flight was reaching Trivandrum on 16th March 2000. I made arrangements to cancel all my engagements in Montreal and all other engagements of giving invited talks at international conferences. I had one to go to at San Antonio, Texas in March itself for which I had the senior coupons from Delta Airlines. These were books of 4 coupons, available only to seniors, and the total cost for the 4 coupons was less than the usual regular fare for one such trip. One could go from any point to any other point in North America, touching as many places, but not breaking the trip. Once a coupon was used then the remaining coupons had a validity of only one year from the date of purchase. I had already used one coupon and the remaining 3 coupons were kept for my trips: Montreal-San Antonio, San Antonio-El Paso, El- Paso–Montreal and the coupons would have expired in April 2000 because I had purchased and used one coupon in April 1999. I had accepted three other invitations including one from the United Nations for a Workshop to be held in June 2000, one conference in France in May 2000 and another in July 2000. These were invited lectures. I had to cancel all these. I called Trivandrum from Montreal and made arrangements to see the top police officials. I called my brothers and first cousins from Montreal and asked them to assemble at my brother’s place near Palai on 18 th to discuss what to do because the defendants had no fear of the court’s injunction order or the local police. I reached Trivandrum as scheduled and talked to some top police officials. They assured help if the local police did not do anything about it. My brothers, first cousins and I discussed all possible actions and decided to try through courts and local police first because there was already a civil case in the court and if those attempts failed then meet again and decide what to do next. It would be taken as contempt of court if we did anything, even to get basic justice, while the civil suit was there in the courts. In any case, we decided not to allow the defendants to do vandalism in my house and threatening my employees and me. Then I hired a taxi from Palai and came to Ernakulam. Two of my nephews accompanied me to see whether there would be any problem in entering my house. It was decided that if there was any problem then others would rush to Ernakulam and take care of the matter. When I reached the house the front door was open and the 2nd defendant Kundi was in the courtyard and others could not be seen and nobody else was in the premises. Hence my nephews did not get out of the car and they returned to Palai.

I noted that my car was not in the garage and the lock that I put on the garage gate was missing and there was no lock on the garage. I called my advocate. He wanted me to meet next day to discuss the steps to be taken. I did not want to go to the police station to report the matter because I knew that there would not be any help from the police. In the next morning when I got up my car was in the garage, apparently brought back by the 4th defendant. I noted that the garage was locked with a different lock for which I had no keys. I found that I could not unlock the car with my original keys. The lock on the car door was changed. I also noticed that the diesel tank lock was also changed. Thus, effectively I could not get hold of my own car or take it out from the garage without breaking open into my own car and breaking open my own garage gate.

 

 

Search for documents

 

I did a thorough search for all the documents. By this time I had verified that I did not take the 1985 sales deed to my brother’s place. I found that my correspondence file was completely missing, which contained all correspondences regarding the house including the details of my fight with the building tax department. When local building tax assessor wanted a bribe to put the normal tax on my house, otherwise he was going to put about three times, I refused to give him the bribe of Rs 1,500/- that he demanded. Then he put a tax of more than double of what it should be according to the published formula. I had made a formal protest to the Revenue Board. After several stages, the tax was cut down to normal rate. All the details regarding this fight, which was very important for the case to show my exclusive ownership of the house and that the defendants had no right of any sort in my house at any time, were in this correspondence file. I also noticed that all my letters to my son, when he was staying in my house at Edappally during his visit to India for nearly one year, were removed from the envelopes and only the envelopes were left. I also noticed that expensive unopened packets of king and queen size bed ensembles, brought from Canada, were missing. Three cancelled passports, one bank pass book and the corresponding chequebook counterfoils, most of the foreign currency collection, most of the coin collection, were all missing. The bank passbook and chequebook counterfoils related to the period of 1992 to 1994 when I had given the maximum amount of loans to the 4 th defendant Dushtan, as described earlier. I also noted that pages were cut off from my notebook where I had written up the history of the house construction, various incidents during the periods, incidents of bribes, threat and cheating etc. I noted that the cover page and opening page of my account book detailing the payments to the contractor was disfigured by the 4th defendant by drawing obscene pictures so that I would not be able to show that to any place. The opening page had my name and address and he had drawn obscene pictures over the name and address. I also noted that some of the entries regarding payments and help to the defendants were altered. The best illustration of the criminal mind was evident from the page containing payments to the contractor through the 3rd and 4th defendants. As I had explained earlier, when I was abroad during two three months periods during the construction of my house I had put the necessary funds in the account of the 3rd defendant at Palai, to be disbursed to the contractor as per my instructions from Montreal, Canada. I had opened that bank account in 1983 when I started looking after the educational expenses of the 3rd and 4th defendants. Those entries, along with a few other entries, making up to over Rs 1 lakh were boxed in by drawing lines under and around, giving the impression that those amounts were all paid by the 3rd and 4th defendants. Such an idea can only come from a very convoluted criminal mind and even a notorious criminal lawyer or the local police may not be able to come up with such an idea. I could not find any of my daily accounts books, detailing all expenses including food clothing and household expenses on behalf of the defendants, my own expenses etc. There was one book covering the period 1985 to 1990, another one covering the period 1990 to 1995 and a third one covering the period 1995 to 1999. These were the most important account books, which could not be seen anywhere. The account book detailing the materials purchased for the construction of the house, giving the names of the shops, dates, amounts etc was there (Exhibit A10). This and the book detailing the payments to the contractor (Exhibit A10) were not removed because during the contractor’s cases the 4th defendant heard my advocate at that time saying to me that those would not be acceptable as evidence in the court. Hence they were not removed but he decided to disfigure the book detailing payments to the contractor in case that book became a piece of evidence. In fact, all the account books, which were left behind, became valuable evidence in the eviction suit. One bundle of receipts of materials purchased during the construction period was left behind in one of the pigeonholes (Exhibits A11, A12, A13 Series) where I had kept all receipts of tax and utility payments. Again, these were left behind because during contractor’s cases the 4th defendant overheard the then advocate saying to me that those were not any evidence. I only realized then that the defendants were planning their criminal activities for a long time and they had removed all papers connected with the house, which they thought would be useful in an eviction suit. They took the Kochi Corporation approved house plan but I could find a photocopy in one bundle. I could also find the original of the tax reduction receipt, letter from Kochi Corporation showing approval of the building plan and tax reassessment papers, some tax receipts and some correspondences from the village office (Exhibits A5, A6, A15-A20). These were left in a bundle, which contained mostly unimportant photocopies of miscellaneous items and which the defendants thought as useless in an eviction suit.

It was very clear from the extent of theft of documents that they thought that there was no way for me to file an eviction suit because there was no document left in my almirah or in my possession. Also they thought that if somehow I filed a suit there was no way to sustain it because there was no relevant document left in my possession. The defendants knew me from 1983 onwards and the first defendant knew me from 1953 onward and they knew that I was not a violent person and the only route that I might take was to approach the courts in Kerala. They made sure that I had no more documents left in my possession to file an eviction suit or sustain an eviction suit. After making that sure, the 4th defendant decided to tell me that they were not going to get out of my house. Their calculations went wrong only due to God’s intervention.

As I mentioned earlier, I could find one original each of the land tax receipt and corporation tax receipt in my name and a few electricity bill payment receipts (Exhibit A 14 Series). Those, along with photocopies of a few more documents, were sufficient to file a suit. Then when I made a full search in March 2000 I got a few more original items such as letter of approval of the building plan from Koch Corporation, tax reassessment letter etc. From the disfigured account book, detailing payments to the contractor, I removed the cover page and the opening page and wrote my address on the second page. I put whitener on the box of the boxed entries and made the book presentable. In case any question was asked in the court I was going to explain what had happened to my account book and I had the removed cover and opening pages to show to the honorable judge if needed. Then I went around to the various offices and collected certified copies of various documents at a terrible cost. Thus I could file dozens of additional documents to support the eviction suit O.S. 103/2000 in the Sub Court at Ernakulam.

The most important document came into my possession due to God’s hands. Once I was cleaning the dusts from my academic books in my home library at Edappally. I found my daily account book of the most important period, namely 1985 to 1990, the period of construction, utility connections, bringing of the defendants to my house, payments for their daily expenses including food, clothing, bus fares etc, lying among my academic books (Exhibit A10). This became the most important piece of document in support of the eviction suit. They had removed the daily account books covering the period 1990 to 1999 but they did not find the most important one covering the period 1985 to 1990 because that book somehow ended up among my academic books. Finally I could assemble around 400 documents or nearly a thousand pages of documents to prove that every statement that the defendants had made, written or oral, was a falsehood, by documentary evidence alone.

 

 

Various steps taken

 

Since I did not know what to do in such a predicament I had to depend on my advocate Homer for all the directions. He said that the first step to be taken was to take a second court commission to verify the fact that the defendants violated the injunction order by entering the garage and the living room. The second item was to file a criminal complaint at Aluva Magistrate’s Court. Prior to that, one had to file a complaint with the local police, mainly for the purpose of fulfilling a formality because we knew that the local police would not do anything. The next was to put a public announcement in the local newspapers canceling the power of attorney that I had given to the 4th defendant in December 1994 as well as informing that my 1985 sales deed was stolen from my almirah. Since I did not know how to write up a police complaint he said that he would prepare one himself and file it through his assistants. The very first complaint that I made to any police in my life was on 27th February 2000 to Kalamassery police when the defendants beat up and physically threw out my watchman. In Canada, if there were any problem one could call the police over the phone and the police would come immediately. An oral complaint would be sufficient to start the investigation and for the final resolution of the problem. But my oral complaint or videotape was not acceptable to Kalamassery police sub inspector on 27th February 2000. Then I took a piece of paper and wrote a complaint in my handwriting, starting with “Dear sub inspector of police”. He threw it in the waste paper basket and said that he would not accept any complaint from me and asked me to come back in the evening. I had told my advocate about the incident and he said that was not the way to write a complaint to the local police and decided to write one on his own.

It took more than a week to write a police complaint, get it typed and file it through my advocate’s assistants. Then it took several weeks to file a complaint to Aluva Court. It took a few weeks to ask for a second court commission. All these delays, which were purely due to the delay with my advocate, worked against me in all the cases filed and finally in the criminal trial I was made out as a liar and a person who took law in his own hands because it was claimed and established there in the criminal court that a person with genuine grievances would have taken steps faster and that too in different order of priority! It was very clear from subsequent events that Advocate Homer was bought over by the defendants soon after I left for Canada on 28th February 2000 because all the steps Homer had taken after I came back simply backfired on me, and all the police complaints and court submissions that he made had many loopholes in them and thus they were ineffective at the end, and later it was apparent that Homer was doing all these things purposely to create as many negative remarks against me as possible from the Courts.

Since the local sub inspector of police was so hostile to me we decided to file the complaint with the local Circle Inspector of Police (CI) at Kalamassery, who was above the sub inspector in the protocol. By that time I also came to know that the defendants had successfully convinced the sub inspector that the defendants were related to that sub inspector and he believed it. It was a strategy with the defendants to claim a blood relationship with whoever important person that they came across. The complaint, written up by my advocate, contained my life history, history of house construction etc, covering many pages, all unnecessary and irrelevant matters, but very thin on the substance. Apparently that was not the style of a police complaint either because everyone, who saw it, was laughing at it later on.

Also I had not placed any public announcement in newspapers in my life and hence I had to get help from my advocate for that also. He dictated the wordings. It stated that contractor’s man Avirah (not real name) took the 1981 sales deed away. That was true, but unnecessary in the current context and I expressed my concern in putting the names of people in a public announcement. That could trigger another lawsuit against me unnecessarily. Later it was learnt that his aim was to create more cases against me. He said that it was all right to have the specific name there, which would bring more credence to the matter. Regarding the 1985 sales deed he put the sentence that it was missing. I asked him: should we not put it as stolen from my locked almirah rather than simply missing. Then he said that he knew better and that was the proper wording. I went with the material to Malayala Manorama, the most popular local newspaper. The person in charge said that he could not put such a public announcement because someone was mentioned by name. Then he refused to take the advertisement even if I removed that name. I went back to my advocate and told him what the newspaper fellow had stated. Then he deleted the name of Avirah and kept the remaining and called his friend at the second largest daily Mathrubhumi. I went there and they published it (Exhibit A34). Again, at the trial of the criminal case I found that the public announcement had no value because I did not state that the sales deed was stolen but stated only that it was missing. I realized that Homer had done it purposely to weaken my cases. That case about the theft of documents was later dismissed by the court and the details will be given later.

The next item was to take out a second court commission. I had also noted by then that when my advocate asked for the injunction against the defendants he did not ask to prevent the defendants from entering the garage, living room and dining room etc. He did not mention anything about the dining room at all. Later when I asked him about it he said that he thought that the defendants would have no place to eat their food and he could not get an injunction order if the defendants had no place to eat their food. I had already told him that I had placed a large table and six chairs in the kitchen itself for their use. For the garage and living room he asked for “not disturbing my peaceful enjoyment of the garage and living room”, which did not mean that they were prevented from entering into those rooms. Thus effectively the injunction order had no teeth. I told him, that when we took the second commission, to ask the commissioner to take the inventory of the items in the remaining rooms and also to ask to verify the fact that the kitchen in the servants’ quarters was in a usable condition so that we could file a petition later, asking the defendants to use the kitchen in the servants’ quarters for the defendants’ use and the kitchen in the main building be put for my exclusive use because I had to eat my food from restaurants while my former servants enjoyed my own kitchen. He said that he would put in a sentence. But when the sentence was put, it was asking the commissioner to check to see whether the kitchen in the servants’ quarters was used to cook food, exactly the opposite of what I wanted. I had noted this only when I got a copy much later on.

The second court commission was supposed to come the next day. The commission did not come the next day. I learnt that my advocate had given the defendants 3 days time “as per their request”. Then that was extended to about a week. Finally he approved a long list of items as “defendants’ requests”. Essentially the commission was allowed to be hijacked by the defendants. There was all indication that by that time the defendants had influenced my advocate as well as the commissioner because most of the things my advocate did after I returned to Ernakulam in March 2000 were logically absurd and against my interest except one item regarding the police protection. The commissioner finally came. He started with the defendants’ requests, a long list. I asked the assistant to my advocate, who was accompanying the commissioner, why he started with the defendants’ list. It was our commission and he should have looked into our request first and then handle other matters. His explanation was that the commissioner had the power to do it in any way he pleased. With the long list of defendants’ items my requests were clouded out and the effect of the commission was nullified. The commission verified that garage lock was changed, car door lock and diesel tank lock were changed, the front door lock of the house was changed etc but these were recorded in the long report in some corners but the main text was about the “defendants’ requests”. About the kitchen in the servants’ quarters, the commissioner wrote that it was not used to cook food even though fresh hot ash was there in the wooden hearth. It was used to boil water by using firewood and a boiling pot with hot water was just removed before the commissioner entered there and food could have been cooked there also. I had asked my advocate to ask to verify whether the kitchen in the servants’ quarters was in a usable condition and not that whether it was used for cooking food when there was a kitchen in the main building. The timing of the arrival of the commission was also relevant. There was evidence that the exact time of arrival was communicated to the defendants. He came when in the main kitchen rice and curries were in the boiling pots and the commissioner reported that as such also. All indications were that the commission was allowed to be in the full control of the defendants by my advocate Homer.

In short, all the steps that we had taken after I came back on 19th March 2000, as per the direction of my advocate, turned out to be useless and simply a waste of time, money and effort. I had asked my advocate Homer to come to my house and see the house and the layout so that he could have a clear picture to argue the case. He did not want to come saying that the women would start calling him “uncle” and then at the trial stage it would be difficult to roast them at the witness stand. When he stated this “uncle” business I suspected that the women had already come to him and they had many sessions or at least one session with him. Later events only reinforced my suspicion.

 

 

Defendants changing the locks in the main building

 

One day when I came home from the town I noticed that the front door lock looked new even though the handle was the old one. The door was open. I checked it with my key and found that the defendants had changed the lock. I immediately took out a lock from my stock upstairs and replaced the front door lock and did not give the second key to the defendants. I had a stock of 2-lever Godrej locks to replace damaged locks on my doors. Then one day when I came back from Trivandrum I noticed that the front door lock was again changed and new bolts were also put on the front door. I tried to change the lock. Then the 2nd and 3rd defendants (the women, Kundi and Paanchaali)) physically prevented me from changing the lock back. Immediately I went to the local police, met the Sub Inspector (SI), the same one as before and explained what happened. Then he said that the 4th defendant had already made a petition to him saying that I tried to change the lock once but they spoiled that attempt and I might try it again and gave the key number of the lock claimed to be the original lock. What he did was to change the lock and put the new key number in a complaint to the local police claiming that it was the original lock and I might try to change the lock. What a criminal mind! The sub inspector claimed that he could not do anything about it. By this time he was believing that he was a blood relative of the defendants.

I went to Trivandrum, met the IG (Inspector General), Trivandrum, the DGP (Director General of Police) and the Honorable Chief Minister and made formal complaints about the defendants, my former servants who had become squatters in my house, changing many locks in my building including the front door lock, switchboard room lock etc and requested police presence to change back the locks and secure my living room. As per their direction an additional complaint was also filed with DIG, Ernakulam. Immediately the local Sub Inspector and Circle Inspector rushed to my house and apologized for everything that they did against me and promised to do all help in the future. The sub inspector also stated that he checked and found that he was not related to the defendants. The DIG, Ernakulam entrusted the matter to the Crime Branch because there was instruction from IG, Trivandrum that the matter should not be investigated through regular police channels. One Deputy Superintend of Police (DySP) investigated the matter, found my complaints to be true and the local police was sent to change back all the locks, which were replaced by the defendants, and I secured the living room and cut off access to it from the work area side.

There was a high drama before the local police was sent to change back the locks. The police was to come on a particular morning. The local Circle Inspector called me the previous night and said that the police would be coming by 10 am the next day and I should be ready with a carpenter to change back the locks. Immediately I called by brother and brother-in-law to come with at least two people the next day. The Circle Inspector himself or someone from the local police station had definitely informed the 4th defendant about the proposed arrival of the police. The 4th defendant came to me early in the morning and apologized profusely for all the atrocities that they had committed against me and for the disloyalty and ingratitude that they had shown to me and said that they decided to quit my house. They needed 3 to 4 days and I could appoint a mediator of my choice to negotiate a peaceful departure and allow 3 or 4 days time for changing back the locks. I told him that it was good news that they decided to leave my house and the apologies were accepted. But that had nothing to do with changing back the locks. They could still leave in 3 to 4 days whether I changed back the locks or not. I said that I did not see the need for a mediator. If he wanted a mediator then I could appoint one after changing back the locks. There was neither a request for a mediator nor any sign of them moving out after changing back the locks.

The police did not come at 10 am and they did not come by 2 pm. Then I realized that the Circle Inspector was playing games. I called the police station after 10 am and I was told that the police would come soon. I called again after 2 pm, after their lunchtime, and I got the same reply. Each time the Circle Inspector was “away”. Then at 3 pm I went to the police station and luckily the Circle Inspector was there and I told him that it was already too late and it would be dark soon. Hence if he was not sending any police then I was going to go to the DIG’s office right away. Then he asked a few policemen to go to my house with the instruction to arrest the 4th defendant if any of the defendants, especially the women, prevented us from changing back the locks. The City Police Commissioner gave this instruction to the Circle Inspector in my presence a couple days before. When the police came, the women physically prevented us from changing back the locks. The police asked the women to move. The women said that the police could arrest them if they wanted but they were not going to move. The readers from abroad may wonder how women could be criminally oriented in Kerala. The reason is simple. For taking women into custody women police were required. Women cannot be kept in detention. They have to be released immediately. Even in the courts a lot of sympathy factor is there in case of women. Criminally inclined women like the 2nd and 3rd defendants take advantage of this situation and commit many crimes and get away with it. I will give the details of the various crimes that the 2nd and 3rd defendants committed at my place and I could not take any effective steps against it. When the women did not move the police informed that their instruction was to arrest the 4th defendant and charge him with a list of crimes that they narrated. Then the 4th defendants ordered the women to move and we could change back the locks.

 

 

Disconnection of my telephone

 

During the problems with the contractor I had applied for an emergency telephone under “own your own phone scheme” by remitting the fees in foreign exchange. In those days one had to apply for a phone connection and wait for years to get a new connection. I got the phone with the number 345098 at Ernakulam. This was installed at the work area of my house. The defendants started misusing the phone by 2000 and I could not make a single phone call or discuss any confidential or other matter. The defendants would be standing around to listen. Even after telling them to move they would stay around. The problem intensified by the end of January 2000 when the major repair work of my house was halfway through. Then I decided to disconnect and put my phone “in safe custody” which meant that I could reopen any time that I wanted and I had to keep on paying the minimum charge. Then in my official letterhead I wrote a letter to the telephone headquarters in Ernakulam saying that no other phone should be installed in my house without my permission.

When I returned from Trivandrum I found that the defendants had installed a new line and a new telephone in their name in my house and my own old equipment was working with the new number. I went to the telephone office with a complaint. They claimed that the local branch office did it and they could not disconnect the new number without a court order. They claimed that as per the telephone rules in 2000 anybody could apply for a telephone from anybody’s house. Then a person from the telephone department would come to verify whether the applicant was there at the location from where the application was made. The telephone company did not have to verify whose house it was. A telephone would be installed there. In the present case they went through all the formalities and for disconnecting such a phone the complainant had to get a court order. I talked to my advocate Homer but he said that nothing could be done in this regard.

Still I could not find the logic of putting a telephone line in somebody’s house without the permission of the house owner and the situation that the house owner could not do anything about it in India! This is against basic logic and common sense. After installing their own telephone in my house they stole my telephone bills from my letterbox and kept them. When the time limit for paying the bills was passed my telephone was automatically disconnected. I complained about the theft of telephone bills, breaking open my letterbox etc at the telephone office, post office etc. It was of no use. The local post office suggested that they could put a post box in the local post office for me and I could collect my mail from there. I told them that I built a house and put a mailbox in my house to get my mail in my mailbox at my house. Finally the postmaster came up with an idea that the defendants’ mail would be given in hand. The postal delivery lady would come and ring the bell and the defendants could collect the mail in hand and my mail would be put in my mailbox and no other box would be allowed on my gate. That worked about the mail. But the fact still remained that my telephone was disconnected. I could have reconnected by paying a fine and reinstalled at any other place in my house. But the line was passing through the work area, which was under their control by then and they could easily tamper with the line, and hence I decided to take a mobile phone and forget about the land phone.

After taking the mobile phone I had to give the number to the local police station for them to get in touch with me for any reason. Soon after I gave the number at the local police station, the 4th defendant got the number, definitely given out by the local police. Then crank calls started and one night the 4th defendant identified himself and called to show that he had my number and he was behind the entire crank calls. I changed my sim card at a terrible cost and gave the new number to the police with the specific request that the number should not be given out to anyone let alone to the defendants. But after a few days the defendants again had my new number. After that I did not change the sim card again and the harassment continued.

 

 

Posting watchmen a second time

 

When the independent investigation was ordered by the DIG, Ernakulam, about my complaint I had also informed the police that I would like to post watchmen at my house and neither the defendants nor the local police should harass my watchmen. The police gave me permission to post watchmen. I decided to hire watchmen from professional security agencies at Ernakulam. I had bad experience with Menon Securities. On 27th February 2000 when the defendants physically threw out the watchman, Menon Securities could not do anything. Hence I decided to hire the watchmen from another agency this time. I wanted to hire from an agency whose men could not be intimidated by the defendants. Someone suggested that I hire from Garuda Securities whose men used to be retired policemen and retired military men. I went to the agency and met the owner/manager and explained the situation in my house showing that the problem was from inside the house and not from outside. The watchmen had to protect me and my house from the defendants, who were inside the house and from their agents coming into the house. I also told him about my experience with Menon Securities. He said that if any of his security men was harassed by any of the defendants, especially by the women, then the 4th defendant (Dushtan) would be beaten up in the public roads in Ernakulam and hence I could be assured that nobody would harass his security men. I put a deposit of Rs 5,000/- to hire two men for the daytime that was the standard rate of Rs 2,500/- per person.

Two men started the security job. My instructions were that the security men should not even answer if the defendants tried to chitchat. Within a couple of days I noticed that the men, being ex-police and ex-military, were chummy with the women. The owner/manager himself started calling me in Trivandrum with request for favors for the defendants. I got information that the watchmen were letting in all sorts of people into the house, against my orders, and in fact running errands for the defendants. Then I got information that the women had gone and met the owner/manager in the first week itself and the ex-military and ex-policemen were possibly part of the gang working for the 4th defendant. I asked the agency to cancel our contract, return my deposit and withdraw the men. This happened within ten days of hiring the services from this agency. I was informed that the money would not be returned and that the men would be there for a month and I had the option of not renewing the contract with them at the end of the month. I had to tolerate them for one month in my property and I cancelled the contract at the end of the month and the security men left at the end of the month, in fact one day before the time was over. The reader may wonder to hear that the owner/ manager of this security agency was a witness on behalf of the defendants during the trial of the eviction suit. He came and stated from the witness box, and under oath, that his agency was there for 3 months in my house. During the third month I had asked for his help in raping the women and at that time he withdrew his services from my house because his agency was a “respectable agency”. In courts in Kerala a hired witness could state such utter lies and filth under oath and there would be no action against such “witnesses”. The judge had written in the judgment that the witness could not be believed and he was arrogant and that was all.

With this second bad experience of hiring watchmen from commercial agencies I decided to hire the security men from the local communist party (CPM). It was generally believed that the CPM labor groups, youth groups and other groups were really local goonda groups or collection of unlawful elements in the society. Also I knew that someone from the local DYFI, youth wing of the CPM, was in the gang of the 4th defendant and therefore watchmen from the local CPM would nullify the defendants’ connection to DYFI. I met the concerned people and hired one man for the nighttime and one man for the daytime. I found that there was no proper selection process. Whoever went to the local party secretary was hired. I used to give one month’s wage in advance, as was the case with the professional agencies. Again, I found that the defendants lured the watchmen with arrack (locally distilled alcohol), Indian made foreign liquor, tea, coffee, food, and money etc, even coconuts from my own coconut trees. I started changing watchmen as soon as I found that the fellow was bought over by the defendants. In one case the local CPM secretary gave one fellow wages in advance and he was dismissed when it was found that he not only worked for the defendants but also even allowed the defendants’ agents to cut coconuts from my coconut trees. When I came back from Canada I found that there was no watchman at the house, none came the whole day and none came in the night, none came the next day. Upon complaint with the local CPM secretary I found that the fellow, who was appointed by the CPM as my watchman, had an autorikshaw and he was running that and he would come home when the defendants called for an auto for a ride. Otherwise he had never been there watching the house. The day watchman’s salary was Rs 3,000/- per month at that time and the night watchman’s Rs 2,000/- per month. One ran away with the money and this auto fellow, supposed to be the day watchman, picked a quarrel with the local secretary because he was not paid. The secretary came to me to settle the dispute and requested extra Rs 1,000/- to send the auto fellow away. The auto fellow came through the night watchman. I asked the secretary to fire both. In reality, during the 3 to 4 months period, when I was abroad, there were no security men at all and I was paying at the rate of Rs 5,000/- per month for nothing.

Then the CPM sent two fellows stating that they were very honest. For the first time I found the two with some conscience. Next time when I was about to go abroad one of my former drivers came. This driver was unemployed at the time and he wanted a job. This fellow originally came to me with the recommendation saying that he would defend and protect his boss even at the cost of his own life, he was very honest, sincere etc. I thought of hiring him as a foreman, who would stay day and night as security and strength for the watchmen also, apart from protecting my house. I also thought that when there were two people around, day and night, it would be difficult for the defendants to entice them. One alone could be easily enticed. This foreman was appointed at Rs 4,000/- per month since he was going to be present 24 hours per day apart from an occasional day off to go to his native place. After putting this “most trustworthy” fellow in charge of the watchmen plus protecting my house and property I left for Canada with the confidence that finally my house and property were in good hands.

I got information in Canada that the defendants fabricated a series of cases saying that there was no electricity supply for days together, no water supply for days together, cases against the “foreman”, cases against my nephew, who was asked to go and check the house during my absence, and so on. Apparently several cases were registered and the police came and “investigated” etc. The news was also that the foreman was accused of removing the electricity fuses. He was apparently called to the police station as the “accused”. One of my advocates had to go with him as per his request. I knew that it was impossible to have disruption of electricity and water supply at my house at Edappally. I had one set of keys with me in Canada. The other set was with my brother at Palai. The watchmen or the foreman did not have the keys or access to tamper with fuses. The switchboard box was under the stairs in the living room and nobody had access there except my brother and me. Also I got information that the defendants’ lawyer could convince the courts with these fabricated stories and that there was a judgment to open up the living room for the defendants to check the fuse box whenever there was electricity failure. I also heard that the foreman had admitted his “guilt” and “confessed” etc., then I had the suspicion that the foreman, after receiving Rs 4,000/- per month from me, was working in collusion with the defendants. I called the people who sent this foreman to me with the highest form of recommendation. They again reconfirmed about the foreman’s faithfulness. I had a suspicion that this fellow had illicit relations with the women because even liquor would not make a fellow to admit the so-called “guilt” when the fellow had no access to the fuse box to remove the fuses. There was no threat to his life or any threat of criminal prosecution or jail term against him at that time.

 

 

Catching the foreman red-handed

 

When I came back to India from Canada the damage was already done and there was a judgment from the Sub Court to open up my living room for the defendants, which was also confirmed by the District Court, and I had to open up my living room and give a set of keys to the defendants. I decided to watch the foreman because I was sure that without the active collusion of the foreman such things could not have taken place. Meanwhile I also found from the day watchman that the foreman used to take off for up to 3 to 4 days per week. He had only permission to go to his native place occasionally, which meant one day in week or one day in two weeks. Thus I realized that he was not sincere and honest as recommended to me. One day I came home in the afternoon for something. I never used to come home at that time of the day any time before. My diesel Ambassador car used to make very loud noise. My car came with loud noise at the gate, the car doors closed with loud noise, the squeaky gates opened and I came into the veranda and I asked the day watchman where the foreman went. He said that he went upstairs to take a little rest. I opened the living room front door and stepped in. The foreman was standing near the exit to the work area leading to the defendants’ bedrooms. He could not have been at that spot unless he came from the defendants’ bedrooms. If he was in the work area or in the kitchen then he would have definitely heard the loud noise of my car’s diesel engine, he would have heard the car’s doors being slammed and he would have definitely heard when I was talking to my day watchman. The only possibility was that he was in the bedroom of the defendants, and only the women were at home at that time. My suspicion became very strong. If I asked him whether he was in the bedrooms he would definitely deny it and would accuse me of having a bad mind. Hence I did not tell anything and pretended that nothing had happened. Then after a couple of days he asked me whether he could go home for a day. I gave permission. Then he said that he would be leaving by the 5.30 am bus the next morning. Usually he would be leaving by the 4.30 pm or 6.30 pm or 7.30 pm bus on that day itself. When he said that he was taking the 5.30 am bus the next day I had a suspicion that he had some night program lined up for the evening.

I used to do some work or watch TV until about 9 pm. Then I used to go to the master bedroom sector, take shower etc and get ready for bed and sleep by 10 pm at the latest. This was my routine and the foreman knew that routine. On that day also I went into the master bedroom sector at 9 pm as usual. Then I switched off the light at the main door as usual. Then I closed the door with the usual loud noise. Then I opened it slowly and stood behind the curtain and watched the front door and living room downstairs. Nobody could see me standing behind the door upstairs. In about 10 minutes time the foreman entered the living room. He watched the day watchman to see whether he was looking. After making sure that the watchman was not looking he went straight into the bedroom side of the defendants. I stood there for about half an hour to see whether he was coming out. He did not come out. Then I went to bed. In the morning I asked the driver when did the foreman come to bed that night. The foreman and driver were allowed to use one room upstairs. The driver said that he slept at 11 pm and until then the foreman did not come to the room to sleep but he heard the foreman taking a shower at 4 to 4.30 in the morning and leaving by 5 in the morning. I asked the driver to pack everything belonging to the foreman in a shopping bag and place it outside on the veranda. Then I told the day watchman to tell the foreman, when he returned from his native place, to take the shopping bag and leave the place and not to step inside my compound thereafter.

The foreman came the next day. The watchman told him what I instructed. He was surprised. He was under the impression that his escapades were so secret and nobody knew about them and I would not have known at all. He suspected that the day watchman might have told me. The foreman made threats saying that he could not be dismissed like that in Kerala, it was not America but Kerala, he would teach me a lesson, he would be coming with his gang the next day morning at 7 am, when I would be coming out to go for my breakfast, to settle score with me etc. The day watchman and the driver got frightened and told me not to come out of my house at 7 am the next day because the foreman would be coming with his gang to attack me physically. I told them that I would be coming out as usual at 7 am and let the gang come. At 7 am the next day I came out as usual. There was no gang but the foreman was there. He said that he could not be dismissed like that. I told him that he was hired to do a job and he did not do it and if he had anything more to say he should go and talk to the person who sent him to me with high recommendations and I had absolutely nothing more to say to him. Then he put out his clothes from the shopping bag on to the veranda and told me to check to make sure that he was not stealing anything from my house because I might be accusing him of stealing things later on. I said that there was nothing in the bag belonging to the house. I left for breakfast and later the day watchman told me that the foreman left after a while saying that he would teach me a lesson. He repeated a Malayalam saying that a particular type of water snake, even though not known to be poisonous, but its bite can at least prevent a person from taking his evening meal (Neerkoli kadichaalum atthaazham mudangum).

When he played the drama of putting out his clothes asking me to check the bag I figured out that he might have already stolen something from the house. Later I found that he had taken away all the tools in the car, the expensive screw drivers, pliers etc that I brought from Canada and kept in the car, most of the clothes and other items which belonged to John the foreigner husband of Paanchaali and which were left in that room, a baseball bat that I had in the TV room etc., in fact everything that he could get hold of. He might have taken these away well in advance. Anyhow, this dismissed fellow was another of the star witnesses for the defendants during the trial of the eviction suit.

 

 

Intimidation of the day watchman

 

The defendants were successful in enticing all the watchmen until then. When the foreman was dismissed the defendants also thought that the day watchman had betrayed the foreman. Since they could not entice that watchman they decided to force him out by using the local police. First they tried to use the neighbor’s servant woman. That woman was very friendly with the defendants, possibly a blood relative of theirs and she was persuaded to shower filthy and abusive words against my day watchman claiming that the watchman was looking at her whenever she came out of her boss’s house. He did not do any such thing and he was really hurt hearing all that abusive and filthy words from a servant woman of the neighbor. When I came home he told me the story. Luckily he did not reply or use any abusive words in return. I went to her boss in the next morning and asked to be seen. He was sleeping and the servant woman came out. I told her that she had no right to talk to my watchman or use any abusive words against him. If she had any complaint she should talk to her boss and her boss would talk to me and I would take the necessary action. I told her that when her boss woke up tell him that I wanted to see him. He was already awake and he was hearing all these. Later he came to me and said that he heard what I was saying to his servant and such a thing would never happen again. With that, the problem with the neighbor’s servant woman was over.

Then one day when I was in Trivandrum my day watchman called me saying that he was in the police station, the police came and took him along with his motorbike, his belonging and his wife to be. According to him his betrothed girl came with lunch. I never knew that there was a girl who was coming with lunch for him. While they were having lunch on the front veranda, police came with a jeep from the local police station, took them along with all his belongings and the girl in the police jeep to the police station. It was a great shame for anyone to be picked up and transported to the police station in a police jeep whatever be the reason. I was told that the Circle Inspector was behind the operation, who was a close friend of the boyfriend of the 3rd defendant (Paanchaali) and about whom her husband John sent a circular around to the neighbors in Edappally in April 2000. I talked to the Circle Inspector from Trivandrum. Also I requested one of my advocates to go to the station and talk to the police. According to the version of the police the watchman and the girl were caught from inside my house having sex and they were booked for immoral activities. I told him that no room was open in my house. He could have only access to the open living room and to the open TV hall and nobody would have sex in the open space when the defendants would be watching. I asked him whether he himself was there to see that. He said that his policemen told him so. He even added that the girl was under-aged, which meant a more serious crime. After my advocate talked to the police I called him on his mobile and he also gave me the same story of the police. I had already booked appointments to meet the police higher ups in Trivandrum for lodging a complaint against the local police. When I heard that a girl was involved I decided to come to Ernakulam and talk to the watchman and hear his side of the story before I took any further action.

I returned to Ernakulam and talked to the watchman. He told me the same story, which he told me over the phone from the police station. By the time I called from Trivandrum the Circle Inspector knew that the matter would take a serious turn and he let the watchman and the girl go after calling her parents because an under-aged girl had to be sent back with her parents. I believed the watchman’s version. But I told him that no girl should come to the house thereafter even if she was his wife. That experience was so humiliating to the watchman and he decided to quit after a few days saying that he got a job as an insurance agent. He told me before leaving that I could count on him if I needed any help from him in the future.

 

 

Day watchman from the local congress party

 

After that watchman from the CPM left, the CPM did not have any more free person available as day watchman. The news was around and nobody wanted to come and be humiliated by the defendants or by the local police. Then I approached the local Congress Party to send a day watchman. A too nice fellow was sent. As usual, before starting I gave all instructions and stressed the point that under no circumstances he should talk to the defendants. He should not even look at them even if they claim to be dying because it would be a trap. He started. Within a week, one day when I came home he told me that the 2nd defendant (Kundi) fainted in the living room when no other defendants were at home. He rushed to her to lift her up. Then she asked him to go to the neighbor and call the servant woman of the neighbor. This was the next-door neighbor not the servant woman who showered abuses at my former watchman. He rushed to the neighbor. Luckily the neighbor lady was there. She told him that her servant would not be sent even if Kundi was dying and also told him that there was nothing wrong with Kundi. He rushed back home and told Kundi, she was still on the floor, what the neighbor had told him. Then she got up saying that nobody would be coming for help even if she was dying. It was just by God’s grace that the neighbor lady was at home. Otherwise the neighbor’s servant would have come. When she would come Kundi would be lying on the floor with her clothes torn up and would be saying that my watchman attacked her and sexually molested her when nobody was at home and the neighbor servant would be a witness when she filed a case with the police. I asked the watchman where the other defendants were. He told me that they left one by one before Kundi “fainted”. I was sure that they were nearby and if the neighbor servant was coming they would all be there at the same time. I had explained to the fellow what would have happened and warned him strictly against going to help any of them even if they claim to be dying.

Then after a week when I was giving a lecture at Palai the day watchman called me over my mobile saying that the 2nd and 3rd defendants (the women) were picking mangos from my mango trees and sapota from the sapota tree. He asked them not to pick because they did not have my permission to do so. The women challenged him to stop them if he was man enough to do it. That was the time he called me. I was planning to visit my brothers and brother-in-law after the lectures and I was planning to come back to Ernakulam only after a couple of days. Because of this mango picking, I had to come back in the same evening itself. I noticed that they had picked most of the mangos and left a few there to give the version to the police either that they did not pick any or picked only one or two.

It was not a question of a few mangos but it was a matter of trespass. If I did not do anything the next day they would cut coconut and so on. So, in the next morning I went and met the Sub Inspector at the local police station. As usual he was reluctant to take any petition against the defendants because the local police were “looked after by the 4th defendant”. Since there was already disciplinary action against the local police in connection with another inaction, the Sub Inspector agreed to come and investigate. They usually came when I was not at station so that they could intimidate the watchmen and write whatever they wanted to write. He sent two policemen to take down the testimony of my watchman. This time luckily I was there. They talked to the watchman and the watchman described in detail what happened and one policeman had recorded the statement. There was no way other than to charge the case at that stage. After a few days the Sub Inspector came back when I was not at home, intimidated the watchman and wanted him to say that only one or two mangos were picked for making curry. He had to state like that and sign it. When I came home he told me what happened. I scolded him saying that nothing was going to happen to him by telling the truth, he did not have to be afraid of the police and he did not have to change his earlier testimony. He was very unhappy that he had to do such a thing and he quit after a couple of days stating that some concrete work was to be done at his house and his physical presence was required for two weeks. When I met the Sub Inspector after a few days to inquire about what happened to my complaint he gave me a sermon that people like me should know better and should not waste the precious time of the police! They had serious cases to investigate and they should not be wasting their time looking into picking mangos! He said that he investigated himself and the watchman gave the first version because I asked my watchman to state like that, and when he went for the second time the watchman gave the “correct version” that the women picked two or three mangos to make curry, and hence he closed the file. The SI scolded me for filing “frivolous cases”.

Then the local Congress Party sent another watchman to replace the one who quit. For two weeks the defendants were nice to the new watchman because the defendants overheard the previous watchman saying that he had to look after the concrete work at his house for two weeks. After the two weeks period was over the defendants realized that the new fellow was going to be the new watchman. They tried the tricks one by one, with food, liquor, and women and found that the new watchman would not be enticed. Then they decided to attack him physically. One day I had gone to Palai to the Registrar’s office to collect copies of some documents in connection with the eviction suit. The officer concerned came to his office only by 2.30 pm. After collecting the papers I started from there after 3 pm and reached my house around 5.30 pm. I was doing some work upstairs, my driver and watchman were washing my car in front of the gate and I heard a big shouting and commotion outside. It sounded like the 4th defendant physically attacking the watchman and the driver. I rushed outside and saw the 4th defendant hitting the watchman on his head and chasing out the watchman with bricks in both hands. After chasing the watchman out he came after me with the bricks. The driver tried to intervene. Then he dropped the bricks, went inside the house and came out with a special type of axe with long handle and peculiar type of blade, possibly the type used by local goondas, and tried to chase me. First I went inside and took a vakkathi. Realizing that vakkathi was not a match to an axe with a long handle I went in, left the vakkathi, and brought out my camera. When I clicked one shot the 4th defendant threw the axe away into the far end of the living room. I took more photos. When the defendants went in, I went out with the car in search of the watchman. He told me that the 4th defendant, without any provocation of any sort, slapped him across the head, chocked him with both hands at the neck, pushed him and then chased him with bricks accusing him of informing me about the defendants’ activities. The details of what happened next are described in the section on my experience with Kalamassery police. The Kalamassery SI wanted me to get rid off the new watchman apparently to please Dushtan the 4th defendant. I refused. Meanwhile the local Congress people also called to inquire what happened to my watchman and what action was taken against the 4th defendant. Due to the involvement of the local Congress Party the SI promised to prosecute the 4th defendant and asked me to make a complaint. Then instead of doing that, the police fabricated a case against my watchman and me saying that we tried to molest the 3rd defendant (Paanchaali) and the 4th defendant attacked the watchman in defense of his sister! In the fabricated case, the incident took place at 3.30 pm on that day. But at 3.30 pm I was near Palai, about 2 hours away, on my way to Ernakulam. There is plenty more to this story and there were more similar incidents, which, will be described in the section on my experience with Kalamassery police later on. Hence I will continue with the eviction suit.

 

 

Thapasya at the advocate’s office

 

In Indian mythology, whenever someone wanted to achieve something he/she would do a thapasya or persistent deep ritualistic prayer before a deity and finally the deity had to appear due to the intensity of the prayer and the deity would appear in person and give the devotee what he/she wanted. Ours was a real thapasya before our first advocate Homer. John and I would take the breakfast from a restaurant and then by 8 am we would be seated at the advocate’s office. Sometime he might be already in the office, adjacent to his house. If he was not in the office then we would read the newspapers and as soon as he came into his office we would be seated in the inside office before him. He would talk about how he was going to smash the divorce case for John and how he would throw out the defendants from my house in a few months time. Then he would take one of the love letters Paanchaali had written to John before marriage in 1992. He would read one sentence and would explain how that sentence would be favorable to us and defeating to her and the defendants. Meanwhile there would be several phone calls from existing clients or prospective new clients. He would tell all of them to come. By the time he finished explaining the implication of the first sentence in a love letter, either an old client or a new client would come. The advocate would tell us to wait for a few minutes because that was a very urgent matter. He would take care of the clients one after the other while we sat there. To whoever came to his office he would introduce the two of us as the world’s leading scientist and a white fellow (saaipu) from Canada. Thus his prestige value was going up day by day. Then by 1 pm he would invite us to go with him to the club nearby. This was the most famous club in Ernakulam. Since John and I did not take any alcoholic drinks he would order a vegetarian meal for John and a fish curry meal for me. John was a pure vegetarian. The advocate would call one of the servers at the club and the server would bring one or two bottles of hard liquor for him from his storage at the club. He would drink one or two glasses full and we would have our meals. Then we returned to his office. He would take his meal and usually he used to take a nap after his lunch. He would ask us to wait to continue discussion. We would read newspapers and he would be ready by 3.30 to 4 pm. He would come with tea for the three of us. In the morning also by about 10 am he used to serve us tea. Then at 4 pm the discussion would restart. Then either new clients or old clients would come. He would attend to those and would ask us to wait. This continued until 6 pm. Then at 6 pm he went back to the club for his daily second session of the drinking spree and we returned home.

This routine continued for many days in March 2000 soon after I came back from Canada. Due to this routine we could not file the police complaint, criminal suit etc on time, which affected adversely at the end and the suits were dismissed eventually. After a few days of this routine we did not want to go to be club. To me, it was below my dignity to be seen in clubs and bars. The same was the attitude of John. Hence we politely declined the invitation for lunch after a few days. We would go out and eat our lunch from a nearby restaurant and would go back to his office and continued the thapsya. After a few days John told me that the advocate was taking advantage of us and he was building up a clientele by using us. Since he was a salesman by profession he could read people fast. I was trusting the advocate and telling John that he was one of the leading trial lawyers in Ernakulam and that we were lucky to get him as per many people that I talked to. Later events proved that John was correct in his assessment of the advocate. In any case, after a while, John stopped coming with me saying that he wanted to spend more time with his children and he was becoming a stranger to his children because he would be at the advocate’s place the whole day and every day, and his wife was using this fact to brainwash the children saying that their father was with me all the time and that he did not care about his children.

Apart from taking a long time for filing things, the cases were moving so slowly in general. Meanwhile the advocate wanted another Rs 15,000/- (fifteen thousand) from me saying that the original amount of Rs 50,000/-, which was supposed to be the total cost for evicting the defendants from my house, was finished. To cut short the story, by the time that I took away the case file from Advocate Homer he had collected over Rs 2 lakhs, and 22,000/- in the name of additional costs. Since John could not get any money out from his bank account because his wife did not cosign he was requesting me for funds also. Advocate Homer knew that situation very well. In his case also, the original estimate of 10 to twenty thousand rupees to fight his divorce case went up to Rs 1 lakh, which I paid on John’s behalf, by the time John escaped to Canada with his children on 28 th April 2000.

After John left, I continued with the thapasya at the advocate’s office. I thought that each item what he filed on my behalf was needed and it was done in the correct way. Later events showed that I was wrong on both counts. He never liked clients making suggestions. Whenever I tried to make a suggestion in the form of clearing doubts he would get angry and would say that if I wanted him to be my advocate and if I wanted to win the cases then allow him to do as he pleased, and if not take the case file away and give to some other advocate. In 2002, when I looked back at the sequence of events, I could only come to one conclusion that my advocate was bought out by the time of the second court commission in March 2000 itself. I woke up only when a judgment came on a defendants’ I.A., which was supposed to be automatically dismissed according to my advocate, asking me to open up my entire house for the use of the defendants. Then I took away the case file from Advocate Homer but by that time a lot of damage was already done. Perhaps the advocate was behaving in his normal self and perhaps it was the same way that he conducted the cases of all his other clients. Perhaps all leading advocates in Ernakulam conducted the cases the same way for their clients also. This I did not know and I could not make any studied comments. But as far as I was concerned, his steps, procedures, time delay, affidavits, pleadings etc did a lot of damage to my interest in the eviction suit and all other suits filed through him. The main reason why the fruitful conclusion of the eviction suit was dragged on for years was due to the defects or deliberately put loopholes and deliberately omitted most relevant points in the plaint.

 

 

Countless I.A’s (interlocutionary applications)

 

The defendants’ strategy was to fight the eviction suit O.S.No.103/2000 through countless I.A’s. I never heard of the phrase I.A. My first advocate Homer told me that these were peripheral petitions filed within the main case. My advocate filed two I.A.’s, one for obtaining the injunction order to prevent the defendants from entering the living room, etc. As I mentioned earlier, the request in this I.A was so vague and as a result the injunction order had no value at all. The second I.A, the need and meaning of it was not clear to me, asking to prohibit the defendants from using the front door and directing them to use the south side courtyard of the house for their entry and exit, was filed as directed by my advocate. This I.A was filed much later, after getting the injunction order. The injunction order already, at least theoretically, covered the living room, front door etc. The second I.A implied that the defendants were still using the front door and living room. My advocate said that he knew better and in a couple of weeks he would make the defendants use only the south side courtyard. But nothing had happened in two weeks or in months. At the end the District Court judge also pointed out the same point that why one should file a second I.A when there was already an injunction order covering the living room. By quoting this I.A the judge reconfirmed the first judgment against me by the Sub Court on an I.A. of the defendants. I trusted my advocate and since I did not know any legal aspect, I thought that the advocate knew better. I still do not understand why he filed the second I.A. There could only be two reasons, one to torpedo my own case, the other to collect more money in the name of another I.A. Most probably the second was the reason at that time.

The defendants changed their advocate and a notorious advocate Nathuram (not the real name) started looking after the cases for the defendants, after March 2000. Soon after this new advocate took charge they filed an I.A. seeking an injunction order against me, the owner of the house. My advocate assured me that there was no provision for the defendants to file an I.A. in my suit and the I.A. would be dismissed automatically.

 

 

Police protection strategy

 

One strategy of the defendants was to go for “police protection”. I never heard of this phrase before. In Canada the police protected every common citizen and there was no need for any special protection. Diplomats or other dignitaries might be given extra protection. Apparently in Kerala one could make use of the court system to obtain the so-called “police protection” the main purpose of which usually was to harass the opponents. One day a phone call came from Kalamassery police station asking John and me to meet the Circle Inspector right away. We went to the police station. The Circle Inspector showed me a piece of paper and said that the defendants had obtained a “police protection” from the Honorable High Court of Kerala, against John and me. I did not understand what was meant by “police protection” and what the Honorable High Court had to do with the police at Kalamassery. Then he explained that there were eight complaints from the defendants, starting from 19th March 2000 the day I came back to Ernakulam, stating that I sent goondas to threaten the defendants on eight occasions and the police “investigated” etc. I told him that there was no goonda of any type at my house, I did not know any goonda to send one to the defendants and that no police came to me or asked me thus far about any goonda activity. If there were eight such complaints then why no police came to me and asked about it. He said that those were all the past stories and the defendants got a temporary order from the Honorable High Court and it was his duty to protect the defendants from John and me, and from our “goondas”. The substance in a nutshell of what the CI told us was the following: If we did anything displeasing to the defendants then the CI was going to arrest us and put in jail. Imagine the situation that if I did anything displeasing to my former servants, who became squatters in my own house, then the local police would arrest me and put me in jail, and the courts had directed the police to do so! In other words, from that time onwards, we should be worshipping even the grounds on which the defendants stepped on, we should be chanting “Hare Rama” “Hare Krishna”, or better, “Hare Kudilan” “Hare Dushtan” whenever they appeared in person before us, otherwise the CI was going to arrest us and put in jail!

We went to our advocate and told what the CI told us. Our advocate said that the matter was very serious and that he would get certified copies of the defendants’ police complaints, their petition to the High Court and the High Court’s ex-parte (without hearing the opposite side) order. When we received the copies I was shocked to see what was happening with the Police Department and the Courts. As stated by the CI, starting from the day I came back to Ernakulam, the defendants, individually and jointly, were filing cases at the Kalamassery Police Station, claiming that I brought five goondas or four goondas or a dozen goondas, each time a different number, home and threatened them and tried to evict them from the house. Apparently these complaints were made in collusion with the police because the police never came to investigate or asked me anything about the so-called goondas. After possibly eight complaints, as the CI had stated, they took official copies of the complaints from the police station and filed in the court.

In their police protection petition in the Honorable High Court (Exhibit A49) they had exactly the same story as in their divorce petition (Exhibit A 31), that for the first time I came back to India in 1983; I searched out for Kudilan family and went to their rented place in 1983; I told them that I owned a building plot (Exhibit A1 ) in Edappally; I suggested to Kudilan to build their own house on my plot; Kudilan by using his own funds constructed a house (when his sole income was Rs 202/- per month pension, Exhibit B1); after finishing the ground floor they started living there; then the 4th defendant (Dushtan) by using his own funds (when he was 17, unemployed and a student) completed the first floor etc.

The court immediately gave a “police protection” without even enquiring about whether the police contacted us, and without even trying to hear from us. We were readily available in Ernakulam at that time. The complaint was not consistent with basic logic. If we were bringing goondas daily, apparently nothing happened even after bringing the goondas seven or eight times within the span of a few days. If nothing had happened even after eight attempts then there was nothing urgent to grant an order ex-parte. I do not think that such an order would be given in any other country ex-parte unless it was understood that there was no meaning in an order of “police protection” or it was understood that through such an order the police was given a license to harass the innocents.

Now, we were compelled to waste our valuable time, energy and money in fighting the so-called “police protection” since we were not prepared to start assembling pooja materials for worshipping the defendants, or better, assemble goats and chicken to perform sacrifice as it was customary for Kaali (Goddess of destruction) worship in India. Our advocate said that we could not go to the High Court and argue that the defendants’ lives should not be protected and hence the order was to be cancelled. No judge would cancel his order however silly it might look. Hence our advocate suggested that the best strategy would be to file a police protection case in a lower court with utterly ridiculous demands and then make a request to the lower court to forward it to the same High Court requesting that both, ours and the defendants’, police protection petitions might be heard simultaneously and there was a chance to succeed, meaning, to get both dismissed. Their police protection was a temporary order and it was to come up for final hearing. The defendants clubbed John and me together with the hope that we would file together so that they could use that and argue later that we were working in collusion, which would help their divorce petition. Hence we decided to file separately. I filed for police protection for me, for my driver, for my watchman, cook, servant, gardener etc so that any reasonable judge would reject my request along with the defendants’ request. This was filed in a lower court and then the advocate kept on postponing the hearing until the High Court was going to take up the defendants’ case for final hearing. Then our advocate argued in the Sub Court that the matter be referred to the High Court and all the three petitions for police protection, namely one from John, one from me and one from the defendants, be heard together. This strategy worked and the High Court dismissed all the petitions and gave a general order saying that the police should see to it that there was no law and order situation in my house. This is one item that Advocate Homer did right.

 

 

Newspaper report and John’s circular to the neighbors

 

The harassment of John and me by the defendants continued. They had fabricated a criminal complaint against John with the local police. One day Kalamassery CI and SI wanted John and me to go to the police station urgently on a Friday. I knew that the matter was very serious because it was usually sufficient either the SI or the CI to call us but this time both together wanted to see us. We went to the station. The CI and SI were in the CI’s office and they told me that I was called only as an interpreter because John’s English was not good that neither the police could understand him nor he could understand the police. John could not understand the Malayalam accent of the policemen’s English and the police could not follow the French accent of John’s English. The police explained to me that a criminal case of child molestation, perverted sex, homosexuality, beating of his wife and in-laws etc was charged through the City Police Commissioner and they had to arrest John and take him to police custody unless he went to the Court and secured an anticipatory bail and the police would give me instructions about all the steps to be taken and they would even assist me because they did not want to detain a foreigner under their custody. They would give us time until the coming Monday evening to arrange an anticipatory bail and by Monday night John would be taken to police jail if he did not have an anticipatory bail by then.

I explained to John what the CI and SI were saying. This was the first time he heard about the contents of the criminal case against him. On previous occasions, when I was not in Ernakulam, he would be called to the police station and he would be threatened with arrest etc and the police would treat him with contempt. He never understood why police would treat him like a dog from the street. He thought that the Indian police were like that. Now he understood why the police always treated him with contempt. I was worried about him getting arrested and ending up in an Indian jail because there would be nobody to help and he could not get hold of his own money in the bank because his wife would not cosign. In those days I was buying all his food, diesel for his jeep etc. I advised him to take anticipatory bail even if the whole thing was fabricated because the courts would not know whether the case was genuine or fabricated. He told me that he never did any of the things in their petition. There was no perverted sex, there was no homosexuality and he was not a child molester. He said that he lived for his children and his only aim of coming to India was to take his children and wife back to Canada and that he had never hurt his wife or in-laws. Then he said that if that was the type of justice in India then he was going to fast unto death in the police cell if he was ever arrested and definitely he was not taking any anticipatory bail for an alleged crime that he never committed or even dreamt of.

At this stage I told the police that we would think over and then left the station. On the way back home I asked him whether he was serious when he said that he was going to fast until death. He said that he was dead serious. I knew that he spent 10 years of his life for the Hare Krishna movement and he would fast unto death. Then I told him that if he fasted in the police cell in Ernakulam, Kerala, India and died there then nobody would come to know about it and he would be buried somewhere and the defendants would be very happy. Hence if he was going to fast then inform the local newspapers and then go for fasting. He wrote up what he had to say to the media. I corrected the English. He got it typed on that Friday itself and by 9 pm he went with the typed matter to the newspapers “Deepika” (Malayalam), “Indian Express” (English), “Malayala Manorama” (Malayalam) and gave his typed statement in English and told about the details. On Saturday itself “Deepika” published a Malayalam translation of the full text, with a big headline saying: “he lost his entire life-savings and now he lost his name and reputation also, says John”. As soon as the news came out on that Saturday, all other newspapers, TV, radio station etc started calling Kalamassery Police Station. The CI and SI flatly denied and said that there was no such complaint, there was no imminent arrest or detention of John and that John fabricated the whole thing. Then the newspapers wanted the full story from John.

John wrote up the full story, starting from his Hare Krishna days, his arrival at my house, the Kudilan family enticing him, the Kudilan family’s claim that they were from the royalty, they had elephants and fleets of lorries at Palai, and his buying of Rs 2 lakhs worth of gold for the Kudilan family to fulfill the claimed custom among Syrian Christians. He put copies of supporting documents for every statement that he made in the text of the circular. It was about two dozen pages in total. After making many copies, first he distributed to the neighbors by throwing the very bulky envelopes into the front courtyards of the neighbors because it did not fit into many of the mailboxes. The defendants used to watch as soon as we went out. Apparently they saw that John was throwing something to the courtyards of neighbors. As soon as John left the neighborhood the 4th defendants jumped into the courtyards of all the neighbors and collected all the copies. Luckily John came home because he forgot something else and found his brother-in-law reading the circular and a big collection of the circulars besides him. The 4th defendant stated that they had already informed all the neighbors about his child molestation and perversion and nobody was going to believe him by his circular.

John made a second set of the circular and this time he went personally to each neighbor’s house and handed over the envelope personally. He also gave copies to the bishops, local priests, parish administrators, important local citizens that he knew of, higher police officials etc. In the circular he had also made a plea to the neighbors and citizens of Ernakulam to help him to recover his lost life-savings and help him to take his children and wife back to Canada.

This was the first time the neighbors heard about John’s side of the story and everybody believed John’s side of the story because the circular also contained copies of supporting documents, including a copy of a certificate that he obtained from Palai St Thomas College showing that his father-in-law was a peon/attender at the College and he retired as such, copies of some of the love letters that his wife had written to him before marriage, copy of the letter showing that the marriage was arranged behind my back and that all the defendants were fully involved in enticing him and so on. The circular also gave details of his wife being seen at her boyfriend’s shower room at Market Road, Edappally, riding behind his motorbike etc.

After this circular was received I had an opportunity to meet the Auxiliary Bishop of Ernakulam. He told me that he and others were planning to help John to recover at least part of his life-savings and they had written to John about it also. (John already escaped with his children when those letters were in the mail). They had also decided not to annul the marriage between John and Paanchaali. The defendants’ strategy was to get the marriage annulled by the church so that Paanchaali could marry her lover in the church itself. Apparently, after hearing that the marriage was not consummated for six months, that she had only a total of three sexual intercourses with her husband so far, and so on, the local priest was inclined to annul the marriage. The church categorically said a no to annulment after reading John’s circular.

 

 

John’s escape with his children

 

John was staying in Ernakulam without access to his money and with continuous harassment from his in-laws and the police. When all the strategies of defendants backfired, the defendants and the police became angry and violent. John’s life was in danger. His chances of taking his children and wife back to Canada were becoming thinner and thinner every day. Finally he did something in desperation.

On 28th April 2000 at about 11.15 am I called John to his mobile phone to ask him whether he wanted to join me for lunch on that day because I was buying his food in those days. He mumbled something to the effect that his daughter, three and a half years old at the time, had a small cut on her finger and that he was either taking her to the doctor or took her to the doctor and then they were going to a swimming pool at the nearby Hotel and then he needed something to be fixed up in his jeep or something like that. Then my advocate called me asking whether John was with me because he had good news that the police protection case was dismissed as planned. I thanked him for the police protection case and said that John had taken his daughter to the doctor and I had talked to him a few minutes back. Apparently, after my call either he switched off his mobile or he was out of range of the mobile network. I called him at about 2 pm to ask him to come for afternoon tea, and then continued calling him at every half an hour to invite him for dinner. The mobile was out of range or off. By 7 pm I realized that something had happened. I learnt from the defendants that he left with both the children to take them to the swimming pool at the nearby hotel. When he took the girl to the doctor his wife was also with him and then she came home.

I was worried. For a few days John was very depressed because his son slapped him across his cheek very hard one day. It really hurt him to the extent that he cried. He asked his son why the son slapped him. Then his son replied that his mother, mother’s brother and grand parents asked him to do that, and added that his mother’s brother was always doing it to his grandmother and that he thought that it was a game. Then whenever he was coming to the house his daughter was telling him, standing at the window, “poda patty”, and “poda mayre”. He asked me the meaning of those things. I told him that “poda patty” in Malayalam meant, “go away you dog” and the other was an obscene phrase. Then he was worried that his children were being taught by his wife and in-laws to hate him and to be away from him. Then a couple of days before, Canada had sent a social service agent to Ernakulam to get a first-hand report about the real situation with John’s Canadian born children. When the social service agent, a lady, asked his son who was about six years at the time, whether he was being beaten regularly by his mother, mother’s brother and grand parents the boy stated with a laugh that no such things were there. John knew that the boy was purposely telling a lie. It was a lie because I had seen him being beaten every morning and night in the name of teaching, saying that after his father’s arrival the boy was always with his father and he was not learning anything. Later he asked the boy why he lied to the social service lady, the boy replied that he was told by his mother and grandparents and mother’s brother that he would be skinned alive if he did not say exactly what his mother asked him to say. When he heard this last item, John was fully depressed saying that in the court also the boy would say only what his mother wanted him to say, out of fear, and hence he had to do something. Hence I was worried whether he and his children went away somewhere to commit suicide.

When I got up in the morning I checked all the newspapers and found to my relief that there was no news about a foreigner and two children committing suicide. Then I knew that they escaped. By the night Paanchaali and her brother had made a complaint to the police that I had taken the children and hidden somewhere with my relatives. The CI took it up as a challenge and his personal mission to capture them and return to Ernakulam. Their complaint about me hiding the children was a ploy of Dushtan the 4th defendant. He wanted the children and John to be out of the picture because with the presence of John he could not manipulate his sister properly. If the children grew up in India then eventually it would be his responsibility to look after them. Her boyfriend had already stated publicly that he wanted only the girl and did not want her children. Hence Dushtan wanted police search to be around me and my relatives for at least a week and by that time John could escape with the children. Such a complaint about me was against all basic logic. I was fighting to get rid off the defendants, including the children and John from my house. Why should I hide the children with my relatives, for what purpose? The 4th defendant knew very well that the children’s passports were with him and in case John wanted to go to Canada, first he had to go to the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi to arrange travel documents for his children. John had his passport with him. Then John had no money to buy air tickets for his children also. For that also he had to get help from the Canadian High Commission. Thus, if he left Ernakulam the only place he would go was to the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi. At least the police should have figured that out. Being over zealous to help the 4th defendant and his sister the CI and SI forgot the first steps that the police should be taking in such a situation.

 

 

Threat of filing habeas corpus against me

 

Phone calls started to all my relatives’ houses at various places in Karala. One call would say that John and children had gone to that place, whether they had already reached or whether they had come and left and so on. Then the CI called me to the Kalamassery police station the next day and said that he was going to file a habeas corpus against me unless I produced John and children within 24 hours. I told him that I did not know what was meant by habeas corpus and whatever corpus it was he could go ahead and file it. I told him plainly to open up his mind. I asked him when I had already filed an eviction suit to evict all the defendants, including John and children by implication, from my house why should I hide them somewhere and whether it made any sense to him or not? Anyhow, no such habeas corpus was filed by him.

Phone calls went back and forth to all my relatives’ places in Kerala. When John was telling that he had to do something I told him that whatever he was planning to do not to tell me about it because the police would be questioning me first, and that I did not want to tell a lie. If he was escaping from Ernakulam then contact me only after reaching Canada and not before that. The CI asked me whether John had friends in Kerala other than me and my relatives. I said that he had friends in Alleppy, at Kollam and Kovalom area, all to the south of Ernakulam. The information was correct and I wanted police to waste more time searching the southern parts because I knew that if John left Ernakulam he would be going only to New Delhi in the north and would not be hiding somewhere in Kerala.

I was wondering how he could reach New Delhi driving his jeep. He had only a total of Rs 500/- that I had given to him. That was not sufficient to fill a tank of diesel for the jeep. Then they would need money for food and diesel for 4 to 5 days to reach New Delhi. He had his laptop computer with him. The only way was to sell it or to sell his video camera.

The police started tapping the telephone of my advocate to monitor any call coming to his phone from me or from John. My advocate was more eager to hear about John if I heard anything from John. He told me later that the police was tapping his telephone. From later developments, it was clear that he had given permission to tap his line. I did not think that the police would be courageous enough to do an illegal act of tapping the telephone line of a leading trial lawyer in Ernakulam without his permission. Anyhow, on 5th May 2000 the local social service agency got a faxed message from the social service agency in Ottawa, Canada, saying John and the children were landing in Montreal, Canada, at that very moment. The fax also thanked the person in charge of the local agency thinking that John could not have escaped without the help of the local social service agency. He was so angry for such a stupid “thank you” note because he had nothing to do with John’s escape. Then the police was after him for a while to extract the details of the “help rendered” by him. After a couple of days I got e-mail message saying that he would like to tell me the location where he abandoned his jeep and that I could go and collect and dispose it and collect the money, which would cover part of the expenses that I incurred on his behalf when he was struggling to eat his food and defend the divorce petition and the criminal cases against him in Ernakulam. I immediately replied saying that I did not want to know the location; I could not get hold of it because the jeep was in somebody else’s name and I could not dispose it off and collect the money. I told him that when he saved enough money in Canada he could think of repaying the debt, otherwise he should not worry about it and I wished him and his children a happy life in Canada.

When I went to Canada the next time he and his son came to my office to see me. He told me that the children had never asked about their mother thus far and the mother did not even send the children any greeting card of any sort. I asked the boy whether he would like to come with me to see his mother and uncle and grandparents. He made a gesture and said that he never in his life wanted to come to India anymore.

 

 

The police misusing even the help rendered out of compassion

 

Obviously the CI and SI could not deliver what they promised to Dushtan. They were in a fix. They had opened a case file on missing children. Now they could not close the file. They only had unofficial report that the children were in Canada. They could not close the file based on a fax message received by the local social service agency. They could not capture the children and John and bring them to Ernakulam as promised by the CI. They obviously approached our advocate for help. The advocate Homer called me several times after John left. He wanted to know confidentially how I managed it, who else helped, how much help was rendered by the Canadian authorities etc. I told him that I did not render any help to John and that I had instructed John not to tell me anything if he planned or left Ernakulam and I did not know anything about the help rendered by the Canadian government because I was not in touch with them. At that time I did not think much about Advocate Homer’s interest in it. But later events pointed to the direction that he was acting on behalf of the police and the defendants to help them to capture John and children and bring them back and to take action against all those who helped John, including the Canadian Government and me. My advocate requested me to persuade John to write saying that he would come back with the children later some time. His claim was that then he could get some time from the court. Otherwise there would be contempt of court against John for taking the children out without the permission of the courts. He claimed that there was an order from the court that he could not take the children out. But I did not know about such an order and I was sure that John was not told about it either if there was such an order. Most probably such an order was incorporated after John left India with the knowledge, blessing and permission of Homer, if there was such a thing in the books. But John had already sent several messages to our advocate telling that he did not want Homer to represent him or his cases any more. Finally John sent a registered letter but still Homer was going to the court on behalf of John. Finally John contacted me saying that after sending several e-mail messages and a registered letter Homer was still going to the court representing him, and John wanted me to talk to our advocate in person and tell him not to represent John under any circumstance and also to collect back his video camera and the case files, which was with the advocate. I told our advocate Homer exactly that but he still went to the court claiming that the opposition party in the divorce case served the notice on him and he had to go to the court. I could not see the logic of it. He could have told in plain language that he was no longer representing John at the stage of serving the notice and if the notice was served then he could have replied saying the same and there was absolutely no need to go to the court. From later developments it was clear that he went to the court to secure a contempt of court conviction against John, to enable attachment of his bank account by his wife etc. Apparently these could not have been done ex-parte and hence advocate’s presence, claiming John’s advocate was essential.

I asked Homer to return John’s video camera and the case files as requested by John. He made some excuse and asked me to come back at the later date. I went back. Then he said to ask John to send him another Rs 15,000/-. I told him that John was in deep debt. Almost all of his assets plus borrowed money were in the hand of the defendants and the balance in the State Bank of India at Ernakulam and by then in the custody of his wife. He had $7000 debt to be cleared on his credit cards. He still insisted on getting Rs 15,000/- more from John. The total work done by the advocate in favor of John were: (1) to prepare and file a counter affidavit for the divorce petition, (2) to prepare, file and obtain a temporary injunction order against the 7.68 acres of cardamom estate that he bought and the nearly 8.5 cents of a building plot that I gave for building their own house, (3) to prepare and file a police protection petition along with my petition and quash the temporary police protection obtained by the defendants against him. The work done against John included appearing on his behalf, after repeated e-mail, registered letter and my talking to him in person, and securing contempt of court against John and securing attachment of his bank account in favor of his wife. The total payment to him in these regards was around Rs 1 lakh. Since I was paying on behalf of John, because John could not get hold of his own funds because his wife would not cosign, I had the exact details. I told Homer that I had the full details of all the payments to him and it was nearly Rs 1 lakh on behalf of John and he must return the video camera and the case files. Since he knew that I was serious, he returned the camera. This last visit to him was even after I took away my own case files from him.

By this time a new SI took charge at Kalamassery police station but the same old CI continued. This new SI was a student of mine in some extension lectures that I had given at Trivandrum. When he came to Kalamassery he told me that he was in my class. The CI knew that the SI was my student. The CI wanted to use the SI. The SI requested me to persuade John to write to them anything saying either he was coming back later or he would not be coming back so that they could close the file. He told me that it was better for him also that the file was closed. I also thought that it would not do any good for John to have an open file at the local police station about his involvement in missing children so that he could be arrested any time if he came to India for something. I sent e-mail to John. Since the police harassed him so much when he was in Ernakulam he did not want to have anything to do with the Kalamassery police any more. He refused to write anything to the police or any other Indian in India except to me and to Raveendran, about whom I mentioned earlier. When the police failed to get any response from John through me and through our Advocate Homer then the SI requested me to write to him from Montreal when I reached back to Montreal saying that John and children were doing well in Montreal and with that letter they could close the file once and for all. I found his request very reasonable and most probably the readers also may not see any police trap in it.

When I went to Canada next time John came to see me, and he told me that the children were in school and were doing well. I did not see the children at that time. I wrote to my student SI at Kalamassery Police Station that John came to see me, he was doing ok and he said that the children were in school and were also doing fine. When I came back to India next time I met my student SI and he told me that it was a great help and they could close the file with my letter and that it was good for John also and let them enjoy their life in Canada away from all the crooks in India. I thought that I did a great help for the police and for John. Later in 2002 I came to know by chance from a new SI at Kalamassery police station that they got an ex-parte arrest warrant against John for kidnapping children, by using my letter. That warrant was still alive and they could arrest John if he ever set foot in India. How could anyone help the Kalamassery police in his right mind when they do such betrayal of trust? I could not understand the logic of “kidnapping children”. A Canadian father taking his Canadian born children to Canada becoming a case of “kidnapping”! It was public knowledge and he publicly stated also that his only purpose of coming to India in December 1999 was to take his wife and children back to Canada, and his wife refused to go back with him and his children willingly went back with him.

John’s escape with the children was a miracle and a great relief for me. It was a one in a million chance of escape, to drive all the way to New Delhi for 4 to 5 days without money and with only the clothes they wore when they left Ernakulam and to secure travel documents and tickets from the Canadian High Commission, and finally to go through Indian immigration clearance at the airport and leave the country. The defendants were using the children to destroy my expensive furniture, to write on the walls inside the house and disfigure the house, to destroy the chairs and sofas by jumping on them, to stick papers and glue all over the house etc. They were instructed not to obey my orders. If I disciplined the children then they could claim that I had beaten up the children. They even made the boy to use a stone to scratch my brass nameplate on the front compound wall. Children were already trained to slap and kick their father and to use abusive words at him. In fact the children were being trained to become first rate criminals and unlawful elements of the worst kind. Starting from February 2000 I was praying to God to help John to take his children and wife back to Canada. Finally God helped in a miraculous way.

 

 

The strategy of thickening the case file

 

One strategy the defendants’ new advocate Nathuram adopted was to create all sorts of stories and each submission would run into several pages. The plaint that we filed in the eviction suit contained all sorts of unnecessary things including my life history, marriage, children, the story of buying the building plot, the story about how I met the defendants and so on. Thus, there was ample opportunity for anyone to web juicy stories around all the statements made in the plaint. Soon the case file was over a thousand pages, which normally no judge would have the patience or time to go through. Then the judges had to confine to listening to the advocates in the courtroom. Then whoever was more vociferous and talkative won the argument. This strategy worked to a great extent in favor of the defendants and against me. The defendants’ new advocate was fluent in English and he was a child actor in the Indian cinema and he had won several prizes and awards also as an actor. He acted as kuttichathan (little devil) in the first 3-duimensional Malayalam movie. In real life also he lived and behaved like a kuttichathan.

 

 

First judgment against me

 

When I was abroad, my first advocate Homer contacted me over the e-mail saying that there was a chance that we might lose in the trial of the I.A.’s. I was so surprised. He had told me that the defendants had not even got the right to file an I.A. against me in my suit and that their I.A would be automatically rejected. His version was that the defendants and their lawyer influenced the judge very heavily and I should be prepared to hear a verdict of our two I.A’s being rejected and their I.A being accepted. I am giving the details of the various judgments elsewhere and the readers will see that there is credence to the story that the judge was heavily influenced at that time, otherwise nobody could make such a biased judgment. Then I got information from my advocate saying that the judgment was against us and I had to open up the whole house for the defendants’ use and if I wanted to file an appeal against the judgment then to let him know. I contacted him over the phone. He sounded like as if it was not a tragedy. He also stated that there were many items filed by the defendants’ advocate and he had no time to look into all those. He sounded like as if those papers were some unimportant items. He did not sound like that losing the I.A.’s was such a bad setback. I was soon to return to India. I told him that if there was time to file an appeal then I would be coming to India soon and I would discuss the matter with him in person. He told me that there was plenty of time to make an appeal and to take my own time to come.

My arrival in Ernakulam was greeted with the bad news of losing the I.A.’s. All in the neighborhood, among the workers, in local church, in the police station and all around, the defendants spread the news that I lost the case, meaning the main case, and that the court asked me to vacate from my house, I was not vacating and hence they had filed a case for prosecuting me etc. My watchmen were so demoralized thinking that they were being security men for the losing side and that they would all lose their jobs soon. The defendants told them that it would be better for them to find some other jobs and not to believe me if I came with some other story. All around it was turmoil and the general public was aghast with surprise that the owner was being checked out from his own house by the courts! All my friends expressed their deep sympathies and shock and some even suggested that I should use force and throw out the defendants. I tried to explain what happened and that it was not the main case but it was only an I.A.

I went to my advocate to find out the details. He gave me a copy of the judgment. I was thunderstruck at the blatant bias. I will give the details of the various judgments later on. I was so disgusted to find out that my advocate did not file the contempt of court against the defendants that we had prepared and I had signed before I left for Canada in July-August 2000. His explanation for losing the I.A.’s was bribery. He started picking words from my letters to the 3rd defendant (Exhibit B4 Series), which they produced as evidence, and started to give sarcastic twists, meaning that those were the phrases that he could not defend properly.

Another incident happened just before I reached Ernakulam. My advocate informed me that the defendants’ lawyer wanted to take a third commission to verify the fact that the living room was locked and that they had no access to it. I e-mailed back saying that I was going to come in a couple of days and hence oppose or delay it until I came because they could create all sorts of false evidence in my absence and hence no commission should go to my house when I was not present at the house. He not only did not oppose but also sent two juniors to receive alms from the defendants in the form of commission fees. The commission report came within a day or two of the commission’s visit also. The commission visited the house on the eve of the previous day of my arrival in Ernakulam. The defendants’ advocate wanted my watchmen’s diary, which was with the security men, to be marked by the commissioner. They altered many entries, then marked the diary and then everyone signed including the juniors of my advocate and then took copies of my diary to be produced in the court later on. My diary was my personal property and no commission had any right to alter the entries, mark it, sign on it and take copies. When I heard about all these I was furious. I asked the junior advocates, who went with the commission, why they did not oppose when the commissioner was writing down all the falsehoods, which the defendants and their advocate narrated, why they did not object to marking my personal diary when there was no mandate to do that. The junior advocates kept mum and Homer’s version was that a court commission could do anything even outside its mandate. I told him that the basic human right was violated. I realized that my advocate was bought out long back and I knew that the commissioner was also bought out at the stage of the second commission itself.

Then came another shocking news. The bunch of papers that my advocate claimed to have been filed by the defendants’ advocate and that he did not care to look at them were three petitions. One was for appointing a court Amin to break open the front door of my house because, sitting in Canada, I did not obey court order to open up my house for the defendants, even though the time for making an appeal was not over. The second one was to entrust all the keys of my house with the defendants because I did not care to obey the court order. The third one was to put me in jail for disobeying the court order. The readers may wonder whether there was no provision for appeal against the judgment or not, and if so how could the courts accept such petitions before the time limit was over. When the same judge admitted the above petitions the time limit for the appeal was not over. This was what happened in Kerala. Also I found that the time limit for filing appeals was about to be over by the time I came to India and there was not plenty of time as stated by my advocate.

I told my advocate that I was taking the case files out of his hands. He never expected that I would take such a step. His juniors were genuinely sad. They told me that I had only a temporary setback and it could have happened only because of bribery or some big influence over the judge and I had 100% chance of winning the main case and hence leave the case there. From the sequence of events starting with the second court commission I was convinced that my advocate was bought over and it was unwise to let them continue with my case.

 

 

Hiring a second set of advocates

 

I had to find a new set of advocates fast because the time limit for making an appeal against the judgment was running out. I asked my cousin at the Cochin Export Zone to name a good advocate. Since he was handling company related cases almost daily I thought that he would know a good advocate, a senior and seasoned advocate. He told me that all the factory owners together had retained a lawyer and he might know good lawyers. I talked to this factory lawyer. He said that he had a senior advocate in mind. This senior had seniority officially conferred on him or he had a “senior gown” and hence he was equivalent to judges. Since he was retired he used to take only a few cases so that he could study the cases well. He was immensely rich and hence he would not be greedy for money and that he would charge only very little. We went and met the senior. He agreed to take up the case and asked me to collect the files from my former advocate. When I mentioned the name of the senior to the juniors in my previous advocate’s place all the juniors unanimously stated that the senior that I was going to take was not deep enough, he would not study the case files properly, his arguments in the courts used to be shallow and that I was making a big mistake. By this time parts of some of the files were already given to the senior to study. I went and talked to my student, who was a public prosecutor of the CBI. He and his cousin, another advocate, gave me the same opinion about the senior. I went and talked to the advocate who arranged the senior and his version was that they were all jealous of the senior. I went and talked to the advocate who defended me in the contractor’s cases. He said that the senior might be a good choice because he would have plenty of time to study the case file. By that time the case file was already over a thousand pages. He said that if I took an active and popular senior he would never have time to look into hundreds of pages and hence would be unwise to take such a person.

By this time we also found that the appeal could be made only to a District Court because in the original suit the valuation of my property was put artificially low by my first advocate Homer, which was against my interest because every appeal in every I.A would have to go through the District Court and then to the High Court and then possibly to the Supreme Court. If the valuation was reasonable then the appeal could have been made directly to the High Court. This senior with the “senior gown” never used to go to the District Court or Sub Court to argue. Then upon persuasion, because there was practically no time left for filing the appeal, he agreed to appear in the District Court in my case as a special favor.

I wrote up about two pages worth of points, showing the defects, inaccuracies, false statements, factual mistakes etc in the Sub Court’s judgment on the three I.A.’s and gave to the senior. The senior did not want to look at it. He said that by the strength of my ownership alone the District Court should reverse the Sub Court’s judgment. Further, Benami Transactions (someone holding properties for someone else by proxy) Prohibition Act would overrule if the defendants made any claim about their alleged investments in my properties. He assured me that the District Court had only one choice of ruling in my favor and I could go in confidence and start accepting all my international engagements. Also he did not like to see clients sitting and waiting in his office. This was exactly opposite to the attitude of my first advocate Homer. I said that it was possible that he would have some doubts while reading the case files and my presence might be needed to explain or clarify the points. He assured me that he had plenty of time to study the files and my presence would not be necessary. I said that in my fields, if I wanted to show that a result was wrong then I had to point out all the faults, inaccuracies, inconsistencies, factual mistakes etc and that would prove that the result was wrong. I thought that in law practice also it was like that, since our purpose was to oppose a judgment. He said that he would take care and that I could go in peace.

So I put all my trust in the senior and with confidence of overturning the lower court judgment I started accepting national and international invitations. I went and chaired and gave the keynote address in a national symposium on mathematical analysis and applications in Rajasthan, India. When I signed the affidavit for appeal I thought that it did not contain a contest or challenge to the lower court judgment but only a narration of some legal points and my legal rights. Again I expressed my concern and again I was assured of 100% success. With such an assurance I left for Canada.

The middleman lawyer told me that the senior would charge only a nominal amount as his fees. But he quoted a big amount and that too to be paid in US dollars. That was supposedly for the full disposal of the appeal and for the conclusion of the main case and that he was going to do all that within a year. My middleman advocate assured me that it was very cheap compared to what other seniors would have charged. Further, eviction of the defendants could be achieved within a year. I paid the demanded fee in dollars before I left for Canada.

Soon after I reached Canada I got e-mails from well wishers saying that the case came up for hearing, my senior advocate was shallow and the judge postponed the case asking the senior to go and study the case first and then to come back for argument. I immediately sent e-mail to the middleman lawyer. He assured me that no such thing had happened and that the defendants might have been spreading such a story. The senior did two good things. He put forward the details of my international stature as a scientist and argued for a time-bound conclusion of the main case, a time limit for the defendants to file their written statement. The defendants were playing with I.A.’s as a strategy and they had not filed their written statement in the main eviction case thus far. This request was approved in the District Court’s judgment even though my appeal was dismissed. The second good thing that he had done was to tell me that there was provision to file objection to commission reports. My first advocate told me specifically that there was no such provision. By the time I had taken my senior advocate, the defendants’ lawyer had asked for a fourth commission to visit my place. This was opposed but the judge approved a 4th commission. The commission went and visited my house without my advocate’s presence or mine and again reported whatever was stated by the defendants and their advocate, including that the pure and drinkable water in my well was unsuitable for human consumption. The commissioner was neither an expert on water quality, nor there was any expert in the team to test the water, nor he tested the water to determine its quality and also testing water was not in the mandate for the commission. Immediately an objection was filed against this report, and later, objections were filed against all the three previous reports.

While I was abroad the second posting of the appeal came. Again I got e-mail saying that the same thing happened and the judge angrily postponed to a date near to my return to India. Again I sent e-mail to my middleman lawyer and again I got back the same answer. With so many postponements and so many e-mails from well wishers I had a feeling that the appeal was not going well and that the District Court judge was furious that my senior advocate was not opposing the Sub Court’s judgment but instead talking about other legal aspects and my rights as the owner. Logically also the approach of my advocate was not correct. It was not the main eviction case to talk about my rights but it was a judgment in an I.A. Hence that judgment had to be opposed and rights could be mentioned also but the main thrust had to be in opposing the judgment for its faults and inaccuracies etc. A few days later a bad news reached me in Montreal, Canada. The senior advocate was taking an evening walk. He fell down, he hit his head and he was in a coma and permanently incapacitated. I was informed that his son, who was practicing at the Supreme Court in New Delhi, would come and handle the matter. The middleman lawyer asked me to send a cheque for another huge amount for the senior’s son to come and argue my case. I told the middleman that the first payment was for the entire case and for the final conclusion of the main case. He insisted that the son had nothing to do with his father’s arrangements and that I should send that money. I had no choice other than to send that money right away. After a few days I got e-mail from well wishers saying that the son appeared in the court and the judge scolded him and asked him to study the case file and come back and again postponed the hearing. Apparently the son also did like his father. He might have gone without studying the case file and might have argued on some irrelevant legal aspects rather than opposing the Sub Court’s judgment.

 

 

A second judgment against me

 

Again my arrival in Ernakulam was greeted by yet another bad news of my appeal being rejected by the District Court. The defendants had again spread the news all around that I lost again and still I was not quitting from my house and that the court permitted them to use the whole house without any hindrance from me. They had already picked the mangos from my mango trees and cut the coconuts and intimidated the watchmen. Again the watchmen were demoralized. While the trial was going on, the defendants had filed a series of complaints to the Kalamassery police and to the Electricity Board claiming that I had disrupted the electricity supply to their quarters for days, they had to buy water from outside etc. These were utter lies. Corporation water came directly into a big tank in the ground and most of the time, when the pressure was good, water went automatically to the tank on top of the building. For anyone, who cared to think, it was sufficient to show that false files were created by bribing the police and electricity linemen. But it did not matter to the courts. I was not present at the station to give the correct details to my advocate. My senior advocate never bothered to visit my house and ascertain the situation. My foreman was also involved in the fabrication of these files, about which I had already mentioned earlier. Then the defendants produced these files in the court to create bias in the mind of the District Court judge. While all these were going on, my advocates went for law and subscribed to the thesis that such things did not matter and only my title to the property mattered. My advocate did not contact me in Montreal to find out whether there was a possibility of electricity and water disruption. If I knew what was going on then I would have explained to my advocate that it was logically impossible to have electricity and water failure to the defendants’ quarters alone in my house. My advocates also did not mention anything about the defendants breaking open the doors, changing locks and my appeal to IG, Trivandrum and to the Honorable Chief Minister etc and the investigations that took place etc. These were all in the case files and apparently my advocates did not bother to look into the hundreds of pages of the case file.

This time also the defendants’ advocate filed three cases, one to break open the front door of my house with the help of a court Amin, another to entrust them with all keys of the house and the third was to put me in jail. The District Court judgment at least did one good thing. The judge put a full timetable so that the main eviction case would be finished by the end of October 2001. He did not ask me to open up the whole house for the use of the defendants but asked me to open up the living room so that they could check the electricity switchboard under the stairs in the living room and they could enter and exit through the front door. They had the entrance and exit through the back door at the work area.

I had to spend a lot of time for damage control. Even after many attempts I could not change the minds of the local police and they believed that I lost my cases and I was hanging on to my house and property and hence the police were correct in supporting the winning side, namely the defendants. My neighbors expressed their sympathies and they were all surprised and thunderstruck at the judgments and at what was happening to me in my own house. All of them started believing that crime paid in Kerala. I could easily see how a higher court was trying to hang on to the lower court judgment. I realized that if the lowest link in the judicial chain, namely the trial court, was corrupt or influenced then it was very difficult to get justice in Kerala. For the District Court judgment I blame my advocates for the wrong handling of the appeal. Later in 2002 I came to know that my reasoning that the judgment had to be opposed on its faults, inaccuracies and wrong conclusions rather than on the merit of law, was correct. Legal aspects could be brought in as additional material but the prime aim should be to tear up the wrong judgment. About these judgments, I will make my comment later. But the wrong remark in the Sub Court judgment, that I took law into my own hands, was really painful to me. This was repeated in the District Court judgment also. This was making the aggrieved party, namely me, as the accused, by these judgments.

 

 

A third judgment against me

 

Again, by the time I came back to Ernakulam from Canada I had two weeks left for making an appeal to the High Court. Again, the son of the senior advocate said that the appeal had to be based only on law and nothing else could be discussed even. Essential points were collected and an appeal was made and he had written up according to his style. I wanted him to incorporate a brief history, what were the factual mistakes in the Sub Court judgment and what were the factual mistakes in the District Court judgment, the fact that fully false complaints of water and electricity disruption were taken into consideration by the District Court etc. Thus the judgment was based on erroneous grounds and since I was abroad nobody could bring this aspect before the court at that time etc. But the advocate told me that there was no provision for such items and only the legal aspects whether there was any “substantial violation of law” was the only consideration at the High Court. For a layman like me, it did not make much sense. How could one argue on law unless it was pointed out that the basic principle and the sense of common justice were violated through the lower court judgment?

I sat down in the court, where my appeal was to be heard, for a few days to watch and see how the presiding judge handled other cases and whether the advocates were discussing details of the cases rather than the “substantial violation of law” etc. I found that all the advocates were arguing on all aspects of the judgment and the history of the problem etc and I could not find anyone arguing on law at all. I told my advocate what I had seen. But he wanted to write the appeal the way he wanted. He incorporated all the points. I also noted that the judge was usually sitting as if he was not understanding things if the advocates talked fast. The son of my senior used to talk very fast, faster than the Indianapolis 500 auto race. I told my advocate that he had to talk very slowly and stopping and stressing all the points, otherwise the judge was not going to understand anything. He told me that he knew that judge and that judge was so sharp that by the time someone opened his mouth he understood what was going to be said and I did not have to worry about it. I also noted that my senior’s son was convinced that he had superb abilities and hence the judge had to accept his argument. He was convinced of his superhuman abilities. In a scientific world of mine we usually look into all possibilities and all lines of approach and will be prepared for all possible eventualities. But the one-track approach of my advocate did not sound to me as the logically correct procedure. But I pacified myself thinking that the advocate knew better and I should leave everything to my advocate’s best judgment.

The appeal came up before the judge in the scheduled court. In my classrooms for the past 40 years I had seen various types of students. Among the silent type of students there are two categories. One type is the quick-grasping ones whose eyes would be bright and attentive, the other, academically very poor type whose eyes would not show attentiveness but usually would have a dazed look. This judge had a dazed look and I feared that he was of the second type. As soon as the case was called the defendants’ advocate stood up and started the argument. I did not know the usual protocol. Since it was our appeal I thought that my advocate had the first chance to talk. The defendants’ advocate never talked about any point of law but started with all sorts of stories, almost all falsehoods, and repeating the statement at least 10 times that I took law into my own hands and changed the locks. He talked slowly, in good English, stressing points such as “taking law into my own hands”, “locking them out”, “I employed goondas and intimidated them”, “I cut off electricity”, “I cut off water supply” and so on, all falsehoods. He took about 45 minutes. The judge was nodding his head once in a while showing that he understood every word of it. Then my advocate stood up. His English was excellent. He brought out all the points that we discussed and he stuck to points of law alone. He talked so fast as if he was trying to win an auto race. He finished the whole things in less than 5 minutes. It was very clear that the judge did not understand a single word of it. When my advocate stated that it was the defendants who changed the locks and that was in the second commission report the judge asked him to stop and show where it was in the report. My advocate had not read the report properly. It was clearly stated in detail among “defendants’ items” in the beginning pages and mentioned on a later page saying that it was already discussed. My advocate fumbled through the pages and he found the later page where it was simply mentioned that it was already discussed earlier. The judge looked at it and put it aside. Then when my advocate finished, the judge looked at him as if to say, “that was all”! Then he mumbled something to the effect that he did not want to interfere. The judgment was written by rejecting our appeal. Then I had to give duplicate keys of the doors leading to my living room to the defendants to pass through my living room as well as to check the electricity switchboard under the stairs in the living room. This was the most humiliating aspect of all. I was asked by three courts in succession to hand over the keys of my living room to my former servants who refused to move out and who became squatters in my house. Only the first judgment was an act of injustice and the two appeals were lost purely due to the inefficiency of my advocates and due to my poor selection of advocates.

Then the middleman advocate asked me to give yet another huge amount for his appearance at the High Court even though he had stated that the first amount was the total fees for the son’s appearances in my cases. I paid to satisfy the greed.

 

 

The third set of lawyers

 

Soon the son of the senior was returning to New Delhi to the Supreme Court. The other advocate son of the senior inherited my case. He said that he did not want to deal with my case due to two reasons: one, that he was likely to be selected as a senior government pleader soon, the second and the most interesting reason was that he did not want to deal with all the filth, sex, defamation, character assassination and the like in the affidavits of the defendants. He was an extremely pious type of person and to whom talking or writing to a girl was bad even if the girl’s parents had requested to do so. He really had no idea how economically middle, lower and the lowest classes of people in Kerala lived and behaved. He suggested his occasional associates as the best persons to handle my case. The middleman lawyer introduced me to the new group. This is the third group of lawyers that I had by then.

The third group consisted of a chief of operations; hereafter I will call him the “chief” or Naarad, his lawyer wife, one other lady advocate, the former senior’s assistant Advocate P.S. George and another senior advocate. This senior advocate’s name was O. Ramaachandran Nambiar, who was a judge for 25 years and retired as a District Court judge and then he had another 20 years of service as a practicing lawyer. When this group got my case the situation was the following: The Sub Court, District Court and High Court had awarded access to more than half of my house to my former servants who had become squatters in my house. I was asked to handover one set of keys to the front door and the back door leading to the living room and the switchboard room. The squatters were given exclusive possession of my kitchen, work area, storeroom, two bathrooms and 3 bedrooms on the ground floor. They were given access to the only passageway upstairs, leading to the TV hall, balcony and bedrooms upstairs. They were given access to the front veranda and the courtyards. I was confined to the 3 bedrooms upstairs. I had to eat all my meals, including breakfast, from restaurants outside. When there was a strike or bandh (when everything was shut down), which was very frequent in Ernakulam, there was no way to get any food. I had absolutely no privacy, security or safety in my own house. If I talked to anyone the defendants would be there to listen. If I gave instructions to the watchmen or driver the women, 2nd and 3rd defendants, would come to the veranda to listen. If I say anything to the defendants they would shower me with abuses in the filthiest language possible. In order to humiliate me, the courts might not have intended but the net result was that, I had to hand over the keys in the court. The first act of my new team of lawyers was to hand over the keys, come to the house and watch the squatters and their advocates triumphantly opening the front door of my house and walking across like the Moguls who marched in after the fall of Delhi.

Still the threat of prosecution was hanging on me as Damocles’ sword. In English there is a saying: “don’t kick the fallen horse”. But the defendants’ new lawyer wanted not only to kick but wanted to lynch the fallen me. He argued vehemently that I should be put into jail for not opening the doors for the defendants at the very instant of the Sub Court and District Court’s judgments. If that logic was valid in Kerala courts, then the accused should be arrested before leaving the court and in my case I should have been arrested and put into jail at the instant of my landing in India even before reaching home to open the doors. Luckily by this time a new judge took charge at the Sub Court. This was also by God’s grace. The new judge seemed to be very studious type, just like the new senior advocate in the third team. The readers can imagine the situation that if the earlier judge was there in the sub court then he would have definitely passed an order to put me in jail, putting the house owner into jail by his former servants who had become squatters in his own house!

The judge had apparently studied the case files and had already realized that a great injustice had been done to me through these judgments. He said that he would consider imprisonment and prosecution at the very end but the defendants must file their written statement as stipulated by the District Court. They had not filed their written statements even after one and a half years of filing my suit but they were playing the game of delay tactics coupled with collecting favorable judgments in the so-called I.A.’s. The District Court did one good thing that the judge put a time table so that the trial of the main eviction case O.S.No.103/2000 would be finished by the end of October 2001. This was due to the arguments put forward by my first senior advocate Jack saying that my time was precious for the future generations and I should be free at the earliest to continue with my research work.

After the third team of advocates took charge, things started moving. The new team found so many defects in my original pleadings. It was surprising to see how a very famous trial lawyer, namely my first lawyer Homer, could make such a plaint. It was filled with defects of all sorts. All the opinions that I got regarding that plaint were unanimous that the suit had all the appearance that it was purposely made to give rights to the defendants in my house rather than telling them as servants, giving them right over the kitchen, work area and storeroom, when there was a workable kitchen in the servants’ quarters. Once they occupied the kitchen and allied areas it would be extremely difficult to dislodge them from my house. My first lawyer did not even include my dining room in the injunction petition so that the dining room would also be in the control of the defendants. Everyone stated that the first injunction prayer was not properly done and as a result the injunction order was ineffective. The only way to do some repair work was to file a “rejoinder” and also to change the final prayers. The major defect that my second senior advocate noted was that the original prayer was for “permanent injunction” (prohibiting the defendants from entering the property) and not for “vacant possession” (eviction of the defendants from my property). Further, in the plaint it was stated that I had asked them to vacate in January 1996, again in 1999 and again in 2000 but it was never stated that each time I gave them extension as per their request (This was the fact). As a result, the permanent injunction would not stand. In other words, if I had pursued with the original suit, after many years of fighting I would have lost the case and I would have been asked to restart. (In fact, in the trial court’s judgment the permanent injunction was rejected on the ground that since there was no statement that permission for the defendants’ continued stay was extended, the time limit was over for filing a permanent injunction suit.) Hence the prayer was to be modified to include “vacant possession”. Objections were filed immediately for the first three commission reports also. A modified plaint was filed and the trial court judge approved it. The defendants filed an appeal in the District Court, their appeal was rejected. Then they made an appeal in the High Court and the appeal was rejected. Thus the modification, including “vacant possession” was finally approved. We lost several weeks due to this process.

Then came a setback. In our rejoinder, that I had checked and approved and where the new senior advocate dictated the original, one crucial paragraph was missing when it came up in the court. Apparently the page maker program that the “chief” was using had the defect that any overflow from a page would not be carried on to the next page but it was automatically deleted. Thus the crucial paragraph where we questioned the valuation and the court fee paid by the defendants was lost. Looking at the sequence of events with our Chief Naarad, there was a good possibility that he purposely deleted that paragraph and collected some funds from the defendants. Then an “additional rejoinder” was filed which naturally the judge rejected. Anyone would have rejected it because it was going to the ridiculous end. Then our evaluation and court fee paid were questioned. This question was valid and it was a defect in the preparation of the plaint by the first advocate Homer. He always talked about the two plots of land and thus one had to give the court fees for vacant plots at the market prices. Then a prayer had to be deleted to overcome that difficulty. Thus all paths were cleared to start the trial.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER FOUR

TRIAL OF THE MAIN EVICTION CASE

 

 

Stay order against the trial

 

EVERYTHING WAS SET to start the trial on 1st October 2001 and finish by the end of October 2001. On 1st October 2001 we went to the Sub Court for the trial. But on the eve itself we got the information from the High Court sources that they got a stay of the proceedings. Hence the planned surprise blow on us by the defendants’ advocate did not take place on 1st October 2001. The Sub Court judge told us that there was a stay and hence the judge postponed the case indefinitely and told us that after lifting the stay we could ask for restarting the trial. They obtained the stay order ex-parte by stating all sorts of falsehoods in the court and padding up many pages mixed with facts also. When the file was so thick usually no judge would go through and would give a judgment after hearing what was stated in the court. This was what happened. It is interesting to note that there was reconfirmation of the dates set by the District Court by the High Court already. Hence another Justice of the High Court stayed the order of the same High Court. In the normal circumstances this type of orders are unheard of. My team was not vigilant at all and the chief of my new team never took any step to watch out against an ex-parte stay. I had suspicion that something might be done by the defendants’ advocate against the proposed trial because he was so crooked, or “cunning” in advocates’ language. Hence I had requested our “chief” to watch out for such an eventuality of a stay order at the last moment. But he assured me that there was no way that the defendants could get a stay order from the High Court because the High Court itself had reconfirmed trial dates set by the District Court. After getting the stay order the only comment our “chief” could make was that the defendants’ lawyer was really “smart”.

After seeing what had happened, I realized that either the judicial process in Kerala was so corrupt or inefficient or non-caring for carrying out justice or the honorable judges were unaware of unscrupulous advocates misguiding the courts. I decided to bring the matter to the attention of the Honorable Chief Justice of Kerala at that time because a stay was given on a time table set by the District Court, which was reconfirmed by the High Court itself. Then another judge of the same High Court staying the process was beyond common man’s logic. Then I was also told that the judge who stayed the process was either a close relative or very close family friend of the defendants’ lawyer Nathuram (not the real name). I was told that the Honorable Chief Justice at that time did not tolerate such behavior of crooked advocates. I drafted a complaint pointing out how the defendants’ advocate misguided the courts and obtained a stay order on the basis of utter falsehoods that he stated. My third team of advocates advised me that it was not a wise step because it would affect the careers of the advocate and the judge concerned if proper action was taken. If no proper action was taken, which would be the most likely scenario, then all these people would be waiting for an opportunity for revenge and O.S.No.103/2000, at some appeal stage, would end up before a judge who was waiting for revenge. Hence I found that I had no choice other than to keep quiet and suffer the consequences. [Strangely enough the defendants’ appeal against the trial court judgment in O.S.No.103/2000 went into the same court, which was presided over by the same Justice who gave the stay order. Hence if I had made a complaint against the stay order then there would have been revenge at this stage]. After giving the stay order the judge had taken sick leave for a long period. The substitute judge wanted the original judge to lift the stay order and hence postponed hearing our appeal against the stay order. Meanwhile the defendants’ advocate filed three more appeals on lower court judgments, which he knew would be dismissed definitely. Their aim was only to prevent or delay the trial of the eviction case. No judges cared about the urgency of the matter, did not care even to look into the reasons for setting a time limit to start with. Thus the stay ended up as an indefinite stay. Our first attempt was to bring all appeals together to be heard together. Finally, after about one and a half months of continuous struggle, mainly due to the reason that the original judge did not want to hear any case due to health reasons after returning from sick leave, all appeals were heard together, got them dismissed and the new judge set a time table of two months to finish the trial of O.S. NO.103/2000.

 

 

Restarting the trial

 

After getting the appeals dismissed the process required that original copies of the judgments to be obtained and with these originals a petition was to be filed in the Sub Court to reinstate O.S.No.103/2000 and set a new date to restart the process. This process took another two weeks. Finally the case restarted and the testimony of the plaintiff (petitioner who filed the case; in this case it was I) started.

When I was struggling and concentrating to present the fact in a coherent sequence at the trial court, the 4th defendant (Dushtan), with the help of his associates in crime, was filing petitions one after the other at the police station, at the Tahsildar’s (local administrator of the local geographical unit called a “Tahsil”) office, corporation office, to the Commissioner of Police at Kochi and so on, so that I should not be able to concentrate on my testimony. The local police, in collusion with these unlawful elements, were harassing my watchmen and driver as well as me during this time, thus not giving any mental peace to me. The fourth defendant Dushtan called my sister and brother-in-law at home and threatened that if my nephew ever set foot in Ernakulam he would not return alive. My nephew was coming to Ernakulam to help me, whenever he got free time from his studies. The 4th defendant called and threatened the wife of one acquaintance of mine, who was helping me with some paper work. The wife was told that she would be a widow soon if her husband continued to help me. The women, 2nd and 3rd defendants, contacted the wives of some leading persons in Ernakulam, who were my friends and sympathetic to my plight, and spread all sorts of juicy stories of imagined sexual escapades. By the time I came to know about these, a lot of damage was already done. The manager of the local store, who was helping me in paying my taxes etc, was threatened with physical liquidation. When I was abroad in December 2001 for a total of 10 days, they filed four cases, two in the High Court, and two with the Tahsildar, requesting to cancel all my identity cards claiming that I was a foreigner. The High Court cases were dismissed. The first case at the Tahsildar was dismissed after investigation. This was lost because the 4th defendant and his lawyer had accused the electoral enumerators also as collaborators of mine and that was the main reason that it was dismissed because all officials had to stick together if there was attack on any one of them, and they stuck together and opposed.

Then they filed a new case where I was the only accused. This time they influenced the Tahsildar also. I got a legal notice to appear before the Tahsildar on a specified day. The notice was served through the local village office, a very legalistic procedure. In fact, when I reached back to Ernakulam from abroad, this legal notice greeted me and it was waiting for me and the appointed date was almost there. When I contacted the “chief” of my third team of lawyers he told me that there was also a case pending against me in the High Court. Even before the jetlag was over I had to appear before the Tahsildar. On the previous day of this proposed appearance the High Court case came up for hearing. First the Honorable Justice asked why someone else like the defendants was worried about I being a foreigner and why should he look into such a matter. The Justice asked the defendants’ lawyer what was his stake in it if my name was on the electoral list in Ernakulam? He replied saying that it was his patriotic duty and he could not say that he had some other ulterior motives to use it in the trial of the eviction case. Then the Honorable Justice dismissed the case saying that a hearing was going to take place before the Tahsildar for the same thing.

At the Tahsildar’s office the 4th defendant and his advocate Nathuram were already present when I reached there. The Tahsildar was very friendly. He explained what the complaint was about that I got my name included in the electoral list being a foreigner. I told him that my name was on the electoral list in India ever since I became eligible to vote. My name was also in the electoral list starting from 1987 in Ernakulam itself, which the defendants manipulated to get it deleted in 2000 and when I came to know about it I got it reinstated. That was all. I had also filed the relevant documents to prove my statements. Also I gave documentary evidence that I was an Indian born Indian citizen and that I never renounced or given up my Indian citizenship, that I held a ration card (the only identity card in earlier days in India) continuously, I held movable and immovable properties in India continuously and so on. He did not want to read my submission or to hear my explanations. He only wanted to see my passport. I could easily see that he was bought over and he promised to the defendants that he would manage to get an official copy of my foreign passport for the defendants. When I said that I did not have my passport with me on that day because he did not ask me to bring in his notice, he set another date for hearing. He thought that he had trapped me and by the next hearing he could deliver my passport details to the defendants and they could use that to create new stories in O.S.No.103/2000. The 4th defendant and his lawyer were very happy and left the room. The Tahsildar ordered tea for me; we drank tea together, shook hands and departed as great friends.

I went and reported the matter to our “chief” and to my new team. All of them thought that I was trapped. The “chief” suggested not reappearing and letting the Tahsildar pass his judgment and then we could fight the case in the courts. I did not want yet another case to fight against. I had asked them whether they had seen any Supreme Court or High Court judgment in this regard. They had not seen. I could not see how on Earth one could lose the citizenship by birth unless the mother country stripped the person off the citizenship or the person himself renounced it. Further, the Indian High Commission in Ottawa, Canada, told me that I did not have to worry about my Indian citizenship, and if I wanted my Indian passport back then I had to only stay for 181 days or more in India and reapply for an Indian passport. In that case I had to give up my Canadian passport. I had never heard of any country, other than India, where one could not hold more than one passport. My advocates could not locate any judgment to substantiate these aspects. Then one day when I was talking to Advocate George, assistant to my previous senior and a member of the current team, his associate told me that there were many very clear judgments by the Supreme Court when all sorts of people started filing petitions about the citizenship of Rajiv Gandhi and when all sorts of courts and other establishments all over India started passing judgments on his citizenship. That judgment clearly showed that only Government of India had the authority to deal with one’s Indian citizenship, not even the High Court had the authority to deal with this matter and an Indian-born Indian citizen’s citizenship did not go away by simply taking a foreign passport. One had to renounce his Indian citizenship on a special form and even if one was stripped of Indian citizenship there existed appeal channels for redress. That was the first time the “chief” in my team had heard about it. The associate of Advocate George located the judgment and I took a photocopy of the whole judgment and gave to me and I gave it to my “chief”. He prepared a second submission for the next hearing at the Tahsildar’s office. It clearly stated that the Tahsildar had no authority to pass judgment on my Indian citizenship and further, the matter was sub judice because the defendants had made citizenship an issue in O.S.No.103/2000 and the trial was going on at the time.

 

 

Attempts to cancel my Indian citizenship

 

When I presented my second submission, quoting all relevant portions from the Supreme Court judgment as well as enclosing a copy of the full judgment, the Tahsildar was extremely angry. During the previous meeting I tried to convey what the Indian high Commission in Ottawa, Canada, told me but the Tahsildar told me that he was a judge also and he had all the powers to make a judgment on my Indian citizenship. The second time, after reading the portion, which stated that even the High Courts had no jurisdiction to decide on the citizenship he mellowed a little saying that he wanted only to get the information about my Canadian passport for himself, that he was going to keep it confidential and that he was not going to transfer that information to the defendants. Still he did not want to read through the submission. He simply stated that for making a decision about my Indian citizenship he did not have to see any judgment from any court, even from the Supreme Court. He simply declared that since I did not want to show my passport it was clear that I had a Canadian passport and hence I was not an Indian citizen, and that he was going to report as such to the higher authorities, recommending that my electoral identity card should be cancelled and that I would hear from the higher authorities soon. He was faithful to his word. I was told by the office staff, after a couple of days, that the Tahsildar had in fact reported as he had stated, on that day itself, to his higher ups. I was still waiting to hear from the higher ups. The readers may be surprised at the audacity of a government official in India. Even after giving a copy of the Supreme Court decision showing that the Tahsildar had no authority to decide on the Indian citizenship he decided to make a decision, ignoring the Supreme Court, knowing very well that no disciplinary action would come against him and that he could repay the favors received from the defendants with immunity. This is one reason why corruption is skyrocketing in India. Incidentally, after the second hearing I did not get the tea and the handshake from the Tahsildar even though I was quite respectful to him when I stated the facts. I said “good bye and thank you for your time”. He ignored me completely, and I left his office.

In June 2005 I got a parcel by speed post from the High Court of Kerala about a writ petition that the defendants filed against the election commissioners from Kochi (Tahsildar), Trivandrum and Delhi, because apparently the Tahsildar had a second thought after reading the Supreme Court Judgment that I enclosed with my submission or the District Collector had asked him to rewrite his submission and he rewrote. The Tahsildar did not officially recommend to cancel my identity papers but instead reported what the Supreme Court stated, that he had no authority to decide on the citizenship of a person born and brought up in India. The defendants had filed a petition to the Election Commissioner at Trivandrum against the Tahsildar’s report, in 2002 itself. I was not aware of it because I was never contacted by the Trivandrum office or any other office in this regard. Since no action came from Trivandrum they filed a writ petition in the High Court in June 2005. The writ petition was heard and the Hon Justice stated that he was not going to the merit of the case but directed the Trivandrum office to clear the matter within two months. Meanwhile, when I got a copy of the writ petition I had sent a detailed letter to the electoral officers at Trivandrum and Delhi, stating that I was born and brought up in India and I had all the Indian identity cards such as the ration card, the driver’s license, electoral identity card etc and that I had never given up or renounced my Indian citizenship. I also sent all the necessary documents, all bound in the form of books.

Then I received information from Trivandrum asking me to appear before the Chief Electoral Officer at Trivandrum on 3rd September 2005. I went as asked for. Dushtan came with his advocate Nathuram. Nathuram argued at length. To start with, the officer was not pleased about Nathuram’s tactics of making the High Court asking her to appear before it and then within two weeks getting a letter asking her to dispose of the petition within two months. I gave documentary evidence to prove that all the statements in all the paragraphs of their submission were a series of falsehoods and then I gave a list of falsehoods that they stated before various courts. In early October 2005 a decision came from the officer saying that she was dismissing Dushtan’s petition because the proper authority to hear such matters was the District Collector and further the petition was time-barred, and that Dushtan could start a new petition if there was provision.

 

 

Fabrication of a forged document

 

Defendants’ lawyer Nathuram might have suggested that they had to create a document in the form of an agreement because the defendants did not have any paper in their names relating to the house. After the end of March 2000 they created a document with the help of a notorious local notary Abdulla (not the real name). Abdulla was known to everyone in Ernakulam as a notary who would notarize anything for a good fee. He did not need any original of the document to certify copies. The so-called agreement was made on a stamp paper, predated to 20th April 1987. The stamp paper was supposed to have been bought from a vendor who died long back and whose son was still in business. Most probably the son sold an old stamp paper by forging his father’s signature. The vendor was supposed to keep his books and deposit in the local registry. Upon investigation it was found that his father’s book of the April 1987 period was missing and claimed to be not in the registry. The agreement stated that I was giving all my assets all over the world on my free will to Kudilan and his heirs, in return for food and shelter and if necessary medical help in my old age. In the document itself it was stated that I was keeping the original and a notarized copy of it was given to Kudilan and notary Abdulla did the notarization. It was also stated that I was giving my 1985 sales deed to them to reinforce the “agreement”. This was one of the documents stolen by them from my locked almirah. Then they produced the notarized copy as their Exhibit B6 and my original title deed as their Exhibit B7.

We proved by documentary evidence alone that the so-called agreement was created after March 2000 and that the signatures appearing there were not that of Kudilan or me and that those signatures were forged by Dushtan and the whole thing was created by Dushtan with the help and advise of his lawyer and his associates, in collusion with notary Abdullah (Exhibits A31, A43, A43 (a), A44, A49).

The other documents forged were in the form of letters. They were Exhibits B17, B18, B18 letters. Out of these, Exhibit B17 was supposed to have been written by Paanchaali to Dushtan in October 1995 claiming that I made sexual demands and wanted her to bear my child, and she was shocked, devastated and she never got out of the shock, still shaking! Apparently in that shock she wrote to her younger brother, who is 3 years younger to her by their own documents Exhibit B8 series, giving details of intimate sexual matters when her mother and other female relatives and her own husband were all alive, well and in good terms with her. By using their own documents, I proved that Exhibit B17 letter was a forgery and created after March 2000. In March 1997 there was a sweet letter from Dushtan to me (Exhibit A28). Also Exhibit B9 was a letter in reply to a sweet and loving letter from Paanchaali in early 1999. Exhibit A10 gives the details of help received from me by the defendants and the grocery bills that I paid on behalf of the defendants during December 1999 to February 2000 period. The account books covering the period 1990 to December 1999 were stolen by the defendants, along with other documents. Those books also would have shown the same pattern of help from July 1986 until February 2000, continuously and without any break. Exhibit A45 is a statement from the State Bank of India detailing help received from me by the defendants until March 2000. In early 1999 I had given money for emergency food, school fees etc to the tune of Rs 30,000/- as per their cry over the phone from India to Texas, USA claiming that they ran out of money and there was no food even for Paanchaali’s children. O.S.No.1276/2000 was filed to recover this amount when it was learnt that the story of starvation was a total lie and they were cheating me that amount also. There were concurrent findings by the Munsiff’s court and the District Court that the amount plus the interest plus my court costs should be given back to me. All these normal activities were taking place uninterrupted from 1986 to 2000. If there was a shocked Paanchaali and unhappy defendants, due to the alleged sexual demand, then all the above activities would not have been there until March 2000. Exhibits B18, B18 letters were supposed to be from my brother. They were not in the handwriting of my brother and my brother had denied having written any letter to the defendants.

 

 

My testimony in O.S.No.103/2000

 

Before starting the testimonies the judge wanted the two parties to negotiate and come to a settlement and said that if he started with the testimonies then he could not go for a settlement in the middle. I told my “chief” to ask their advocate about the judge’s proposal. Their advocate, after discussing with the defendants, gave the reply saying that they would give me Rs 50,000/- to remove my furniture from my house and that was their offer and they were confident of getting my house through the courts. We informed the same to the judge and the trial started. I was present in the court room when we rejected their offer. Then the honorable judge asked me about the market value of my property. I told him that it was worth at least Rs one crore. Then he asked whether I wanted to continue with the trial. I said yes.

My chief examination (testimony) started. The defendants’ advocate started with objections to almost every document that I tried to get it marked as exhibits. Even the ration card, which the defendants manipulated and put themselves as my wife and children (Exhibit B2), was objected to. At this point the Honorable Judge asked him whether he was going to object to that also, meaning that the entries in the ration book were crystal clear. I narrated the background, my acquaintance with Kudilan, help rendered in educating Paanchaali and Dushtan, the fact that they were destitute at Palai (Exhibit A47), bringing them to Ernakulam as servants to look after the newly built house, Paanchaali’s marriage to John and finally their refusal to move out. Over 400 items were marked and classified into 54 documents initially. My “chief” was supposed to ask me questions to give the testimony into a proper sequence. But he started asking from here and there and that created some confusion, and also a number of items were missed. Then I realized that my “chief” did not see well and he had written up the questionnaire on pieces of papers. After a few days of testimony the judge was also getting impatient saying that for getting back the house and property no such details were needed. We were aiming at countering all items in the defendants’ written statement. The judge remarked that no such thing was needed and it was old-fashioned procedure to go through countering each and everything. Since we did not want to annoy the judge we stopped after about 42 pages of testimony. A number of items remained to be explained and refuted.

 

 

Cross examination

 

In the cross examination, my answer to the very first question about my citizenship and Canadian passport was fouled up. Then after that, not a single answer was fouled up. At the same time I could bring out more points which I had not have time to present in my chief examination. Since I was presenting only the truths there was no problem in giving the correct answer whichever way the questions came. During the process, the Honorable Judge gave some advice to the defendants’ advocate Nathuram. He said that when an educated and an intelligent man was cross-examined never ask the types of questions asked to a layman. Twisting and asking the same question in different ways would not help. Ask only questions which required a yes or no answer. Then the defendants’ advocate asked me a question and told me to answer yes or no. I said “no” with an explanation and then explained the background and brought out more points. Then he asked me to give the exact date when I changed the lock of the front door. First I did not change the lock but changed back the lock. Then I explained the whole story of my complaints to IG, Trivandrum etc in one long sentence. This was one aspect, which we wanted to bring out in my chief examination. In the cross-examination the defendants’ advocate could not get a single point to use against the suit or against me. For the balance of the missing aspects, that we wanted to bring out, I had asked my “chief” to ask me questions when the chance of “re-examination” came at the end. But to my dismay the “chief” said no to “re” and stopped which clearly indicated that he was already working for the defendants and Nathuram.

After the cross-examination was finished the senior in our team pointed out that a few more important points were to be brought out and a formal denial was needed, even though the judge said that such things were not needed, because at the appeal stage this would be a point that the defendants would bring out and we would not be able to defend it. Then we filed a petition to recall me to the stand to bring out a few more points. The judge objected and said that there was no question of calling me back onto the witness stand. I was given enough time and further, at the end of the cross-examination the judge had asked the “chief” whether there was any more points to add and the “chief” said no “re” which meant nothing more to add. The “chief” did not bother to study the questionnaire and check whether any item was missed. The defendants’ lawyer objected vehemently against recalling me to the stand. The judge must have thought that if he allowed our petition then the defendants would go for appeal and thus the trial would be delayed indefinitely again. The defendants were looking for an opportunity to delay the trial. The judge said at the very end if he felt any need to recall me then he would recall then postponed a decision on our petition to the end of the trial.

 

 

Delay tactics

 

The trial was supposed to go continuously every afternoon from 2.30 pm until the judge got tired in writing down. As per the rules in Kerala, the judge himself had to write down the testimonies by hand, and other assistants or aids could not be used. During the trial, the defendants’ advocate took “sick leave” on two occasions, once for one week and another time for 3 days. Individual days were lost due to either the judge had other important cases to finish, or our advocates were busy in the High Court or the defendants’ advocate was busy with other trials. In between came the government employees’ strike thereby the bench clerks were away. Even though others volunteered to assist the judges, the judge did not want anybody else to handle the case files and especially the documents because he knew that O.S.No.103/2000 was a very sensitive and dangerous case. There were several incidents to contribute to this fear.

Once we were trying to mark the manipulated ration card. We found that the relevant pages were missing. The judge had stopped the trial to investigate. Then realizing the gravity of the situation the defendants’ lawyer produced the originals and they were marked (Exhibits B1, B2). On another occasion we tried to mark the most important document of the case, namely my daily account book covering the period 1984 to 1990, dealing with the most sensitive periods of construction, occupation of the house etc (Exhibit A10). The book was missing. The judge stopped the trial and ordered the bench clerk to produce the book by next day. By the next day, the missing book surfaced. Most probably the 4th defendant bribed some clerks and the book was hidden and most probably their advocate Nathuram directed the whole operation. On another occasion we tried to mark the defendants’ police protection file (Exhibit A49). When the document was taken up by the bench clerk we found that the string tying up the pages was torn apart and all the relevant pages of the attachments to their petition were missing. My advocate lodged a very serious complaint. The judge stopped the trial, asked us to apply for another certified copy from the High Court and he would allow it to be marked later. Immediately I applied for a certified copy from the High Court. The whole file was apparently missing in the High Court. We paid clerks to have a thorough search of all cabinets, shelves etc. Still the case file was missing. Evidently the 4th defendant or his advocate had bribed some clerks and the whole file was hidden somewhere. After several attempts through various sources we did not get a certified copy because they could not locate the file at all. As per the records, the file got lost in transit to the final filing place. I wrote up an official complaint to the Registrar of the Kerala High Court and the senior advocate in my team personally went in and gave the complaint to the Registrar. The Registrar immediately ordered that the case file should be located within 24 hours. I was told that in such a situation if the file was really destroyed then all the concerned employees would lose their jobs. Usually what happened was that some clerks were bribed by the interested parties and then the file would be misplaced or hidden depending upon the amount of bribe. Usually the aggrieved party making the request for a file would give up after a couple of weeks. Thus the system continued. Since the Registrar was going to take action, the clerk who hid the file in the first place would unearth the file. As expected, within 24 hours the file surfaced and we got a certified copy. The trial court judge allowed it to be marked at the end.

When I had such a difficulty to obtain a copy of this case file and when I realized that from our first submission only the attachment pages were missing, I gathered that there must be something very important in those exhibits in that case file. As soon as I got a certified copy from the High Court I started searching through the exhibits in that case file. There was a treasure, which I would not have noticed if someone, most probably the 4th defendant as per the advice of his advocate, did not play hide and seek with those exhibits. The attachments or exhibits in that police protection petition contained several handwritten complaints to Kalamassery Police and the City Police Commissioner. The handwritings and signatures of the 3rd and 4th defendants were available. Further, the spelling mistakes appearing in the alleged “agreement” of 20th April 1987 were appearing in the 4th defendants’ police complaints. There was also a copy of their letter to the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi, which showed the depth of sexual perversion taking place among the defendants.

Finally the government employees’ strike was about to be over. The case O.S.No.103/2000 was posted periodically during the strike days. On the day when speculation was there that the strike would be over in a couple of days there was a posting of the case. My “chief” did not send anyone to appear at the Sub Court. When the case was called the defendants’ advocate requested for a postponement of 10 days and it was granted. Thus we lost another 10 days after the strike was over. After this incident and several other earlier incidents I had a suspicion that my “chief” Naarad was trying to delay the trial, and my suspicion turned out to be correct later on. Then I myself arranged advocates to be present at the roll call time at 11 am on all the days when the case was posted. Finally the trial restarted.

During the cross-examination of me, the judge asked me how many witnesses that I planned to bring and which category of witnesses. The defendants’ advocate was supposed to ask me this question. Since he did not ask, the judge asked. I said 3 people from St Thomas College Palai to establish that the first defendant Kudilan was a peon/attender there from 1950 to 1980, even though I had filed a certificate from the College (Exhibit A 47). The judge said that only one was sufficient. Then I said that all the workers who were involved in the construction of my house, these were the contractors’ workers who were involved in the construction of my house. The judge said that one from this category was sufficient. Then I said the Manager of the State Bank of India and someone from DIG’s office. He said they were ok. Then I said my student who retired as the Public Prosecutor of the CBI, who knew the defendants from the day they came to my house at Edappally. He said that was not necessary. We decided to call four witnesses to start with and to call more if necessary.

 

 

Our witnesses

 

Our first witness was a person named Devasia Enas, who was a co-peon of the first defendant at St Thomas College Palai. Since he was known in the College as Mathen the defendants did not realize who he was, otherwise he would have been intimidated. We had named another professor from the College in our witness list and the defendants through a mutual contact tried to influence him. We brought him also to the court as a moral boost to Mathen but we did not want to put him on the stand because Mathen’s testimony would be sufficient. Mathen stated that Kudilan was his co-peon and Kudilan used to borrow money from everyone. He said that Kudilan in fact borrowed Rs 10 from him for buying the ration rice and he did not get that money back from him yet. Then the judge said that he could order the defendants to give that money back to him. He said that he had written off that long ago and he only mentioned it as a fact. When Kudilan retired, all the peons took a collection for Kudilan because Kudilan was extremely poor and that Kudilan worked as a washer of glasses in an arrack shop after retirement and so on. He only stated that Kudilan was working in an arrack shop. The defendants’ advocate, by cross-examining, brought out that he was washing glasses in the arrack shop. He brought out all the points that we wanted him to bring out. He did not want to inform the truth that Kudilan did not know how to write proper English or Malayalam and that Mathen used to write even the personal letters for Kudilan and that Kudilan had lots of problems with Kundi and those personal letters were complaints regarding Kundi. This would have been too humiliating to his onetime colleague and friend and hence he deleted that aspect. Since he was telling the truth the defendants’ advocate did not get anything by cross-examining him. When the defendants’ advocate realized that by cross-examining him, more and more naked truths were coming out he stopped after the incident with his job at the arrack shop.

Mathen was a country-type who had never been to a courtroom. He would have blurted out some unpleasant things in the court. By God’s grace it was averted. Before going into the court he saw the defendants’ advocate Nathuram. He shouted out that he knew him and he was the “Kuttichathen” (little devil). Defendants’ advocate was a child actor and he acted as a Kuttichathen and hence he was known as Kuttichathen. We told him not to tell such things in the court. If he did not see their advocate before going into the courtroom and when he met him in the court then Mathen would have blurted out: “I know you, you are the Kttichathen”. Then it would have been embarrassing for everyone.

I had four volunteers from among the contractor’s workers to testify. The main sub-contractor, the person in charge for electric wiring and plumbing at the house, was afraid to come to the open court to testify saying that Dushtan’s gang would go and destroy his electric shop if he testified. He was willing to come to the judge’s chamber and tell the judge the truth but my advocates told me that there was no such provision in the Indian system in a civil suit. We brought two of the contractor’s men to the court and decided to put on the stand the main foreman of the contractor who was also in charge of all carpentry work. He gave the names of all the main persons in charge of the major items of work at the work site when my house was being built. The defendants might have told their advocate that all our witnesses were false witnesses, otherwise no advocate in the right mind would have asked such foolish questions and brought out more facts. The foreman said that he was in charge of buying things and that he gave receipts to me and collected money from me and that I paid directly for big items etc. The defendants’ advocate suggested that he did not buy anything for me etc. Then he told that he could tell about every piece and type of wood used in my house and from where each item was bought. He also said that usually the merchants gave bills showing smaller amounts and hence the actual amount spent was more than what was shown in the account books. Then the advocate said that the 3rd and 4th defendants came to the worksite to supervise the work. The foreman said that the contractor supervised the work and the 3rd and 4th defendants were seen there once or twice cleaning up something, possibly as per my instructions. Then the defendants’ advocate wanted to bring out the incidents of gherao at my worksite on two occasions. He said that there was no dispute between the workers and me but there were some differences between the contractor and me and that he heard that they were settled long back. His version of the gherao (forced confinement of the opponent) part was not correct. In fact there were two gheraos and the workers did them thinking that I did not pay to the contractor but later all the workers realized that the contractor was cheating them by saying that I did not pay. After the construction of my house, the workers went on their separate ways and became well to do on their own. Finally when the defendants’ advocate realized that he was bringing more and more items by cross-examining he said that he had only one more question to ask. The judge said that he could ask two or three more questions. He did not ask any more question. Since we did not need any more aspects from the construction activity we did not put the other worker on the witness stand.

Our next witness was the Manager of the State Bank of India. We had to mark a few documents through him. He was a new manager and also new in Ernakulam. The defendants’ advocate tried to take advantage and tried to confuse him between the old State Bank of India and the new branch. Some confusion was created due to the fact that he was new at the branch but our aim of marking all the bank related documents through him was achieved (Exhibits A45, A53, A54).

Our next witness was a clerk from the DIG’s office. Our only aim was for him to present the full file regarding DIG ordered investigation when the defendants broke into the house and changed many locks. Since he was not the investigating officer neither they nor we had any question to him and he presented the files in the court and left.

We did not want to put the retired Public Prosecutor of CBI or other witnesses on the stand because we already got all the points that we wanted to establish through the witnesses. Thus we closed the testimonies from the plaintiff’s side.

 

 

Defendants’ testimony

 

The readers might wonder what was there for the defendants to testify and what was there for them to argue for. As mentioned earlier, their original version in their divorce petition (Exhibit A31) and their police protection petition (Exhibit A49) were that I went to Kudilan at his rented house in 1983 and I said that I owned a building plot in Edappally (Exhibit A1 ), I asked Kudilan to build a house on my plot and Kudilan by using his own money built the house, when his only source of income was Rs 202/- per month pension ( Exhibit B1 ) and his consolidated salary and allowances before retirement was only Rs 521/- per month ( Exhibits A47). After finishing the ground floor they started living there and then Dushtan by using his own funds, when he was 17 years old (Exhibits B1, B8 Series), finished the first floor and roof etc.

In order to show that they had money, first they claimed that they disposed of their “estates” in Puliyannur and Kadappattur in Meenachil Taluk in Kerala, India, and invested that money in my house. When they were challenged to show official records that they owned estates in Puliyannur and Kadappattur they gave up that story. Estate in Puliyannur was dropped and claimed that they owned 35 cents of vacant land in Kadappattur. Then they admitted that they were staying in a rented house and not of their own house. These versions were given when their original advocate was there.

With the creation of a forged “agreement” after March 2000, about which we will describe later, they changed to their new advocate Nathuram. After the arrival of the new advocate they changed their original story. First they predated my alleged arrival at their house from 1983 to 1981 and stated that for buying the 1985 land I borrowed from Kudilan Rs 5,000/- and for buying the 1981 land I borrowed Rs 15,000/- from Kudilan and thus they invested money in buying the land also. Then they realized that the 1981 land was bought in March 1981 and hence they predated my arrival at their house from 1981 to 1980. For all the registration papers being in my name they invented a theory that I told them that for “administrative convenience” I would register the 1981 land in my name only and thus they were cheated, being “naïve villagers”. Since the lands were registered in my name, all the subsequent papers, tax payments, utility connections etc, all happened to be in my name! Then they changed their original story of them spending the entire amount and constructing the house, to the story that I also spent money in constructing the house and thus the house was jointly constructed and the plots were jointly bought and claimed to be co-owners!

Since, out of the four defendants only the second (Kundi) and fourth (Dushtan) could tell lies consistently, they decided to put Dushtan on the stand, and others if it became highly essential. Their strategy was to tell all sorts of stories and to bring in all sorts of irrelevant matters to annoy the judge so that either he would stop the examination or rebuke them. They wanted to use this pretext to move the court, take away the case to some other court or to go for a stay of the proceedings. The judge seemed to have realized their strategy. Dushtan’s testimony was a string of lies from the beginning till the end. Everybody in the court including the judge and the court clerks realized that he was telling lies. During the process the judge remarked that his Malayalam was so excellent and what was his educational qualification. He answered as pre-degree completed. He had failed his pre-degree. He forgot that in the very beginning itself the judge had asked the same question and he answered B.A completed. When the judge remarked about his good Malayalam the defendants’ advocate Nathuram wanted to take the credit. He said that the blame, meaning the credit, went to him. By this, their advocate admitted that he had coached Dushtan to say all those lies. In the West, the advocate would be punished for coaching witnesses to tell lies but here in Kerala that admission was interpreted as praiseworthy. When the examination was halfway through the court clerks remarked that they had never seen a witness, meaning Dushtan, giving dictation to the judge in very consistent and flowing Malayalam, and according to them it would be impossible to break the witness by cross-examination because the testimony was airtight.

On one occasion the 4th defendant was giving a description of the narrow path in the courtyard claiming that in that courtyard there was a water tank, a well, coconut trees, mango trees, flower pots, potted plants and then the judge added “forest and wild rivers” and that everything was in the commission report and why then he was giving a long description and then he wrote up saying that the courtyard was described in the commission report. When the storytelling exceeded 40 pages, the judge asked for how many days more. They said two more days. When the two days were over the judge asked again how many days more? Again they answered two more days. Then the judge was planning to close the trial before the court vacation started. After three such “two more days” were passed then the judge postponed the trial to a date one week after the court vacation.

 

 

Another attempt at collecting a ration card

 

During the court vacation I had gone to Canada for a month and returned fast thinking that the defendants would file at least five cases, and win some of them in my absence as happened before. During December 2001 when I was abroad only for ten days, and during that time they had filed four cases. When I reached back from Canada the first thing that I inquired with my third team of advocates was about the number of cases filed by the defendants during my absence of one month. They said that they did not know of any. I was quite surprised and I knew that either the 4th defendant was busy bootlegging to make money or he did something else, which my advocates did not know.

During that week, one day my driver did not come and I was walking home from the bus stand. Our ration shop was on the way. Since I had not seen the ration shop owner for a long time I simply dropped in to say “halo”. He asked me: “did you not hear”? I asked “what’? He said that Dushtan had been pressuring the City Rationing Officer to issue a new ration card for the defendants. The City Rationing Officer was pressured from the District Collector’s office and finally the City Rationing Officer yielded and asked the inspector to go to my house and inspect my house and that the inspector was supposed to come on that very same day and shop owner was waiting for her. He told me to go and see the City Rationing Officer as well as the District Collector right away. I stayed at home during the remaining part of the day and the next day until noon expecting the inspector. She did not come. Meanwhile I had prepared a complaint to the District Collector with copies to City Rationing Officer and to the ration shop explaining that they had no right to issue ration cards to the squatters in my house and they did not have my permission to do so. I got it typed and I sent by registered mail to the District Collector, City Rationing Officer and the ration shop owner and then went to the City Rationing Officer. Luckily the inspector was also there. I talked to her. She was new at the post. Due to the hurry shown by Dushtan saying that before 21st May 2002 she must issue the card, she got suspicious. She thought that I might be abroad and I might be coming back on 21st May 2002. In fact I was coming back on 23rd May 2002. She decided to wait until 21st May 2002 and try to talk to me before recommending to issue the card. I told her that the old card was cancelled because they manipulated my ration card and put themselves as my wife and children. Then the previous City Rationing Officer issued a new card to me. Then she told me that there was too much pressure from the District Collector’s office and hence I must see the Collector personally and that they got a “residence certificate” from the Corporation of Cochin Office. Hence I must get that certificate cancelled also.

I made another letter and sent it by registered post to the Mayor of the Corporation of Cochin asking him to cancel the residence certificate because my former servants had become squatters in my house and another separate identity and “residence” should not be made from my house. Then I went to meet the District Collector. He had just left his office because the Chief Minister of the State was in town. I met the next two in line. They as well as their office said that they never called the City Rationing Officer. They wrote on the copy of my complaint itself a note for the District Supply Officer. I went to the supply officer. The office manager took my letter and put into a file on his desk. I realized that there was an active file, which was on his table and hence he must have been the one calling the City Rationing Officer. Since I had already told him that I was planning to take legal action against whoever was pressuring the City Rationing Officer, he claimed that nobody from his office called. I collected back my letter and went directly to the supply officer. He said that he never knew about the calls and that he would give instructions to his office not to call the City Rationing Officer in this regard.

The next day, which was a Saturday, I went to the Mayor’s home and met him. He had recognized me. He had seen me at the marriage of the local CPM secretary’s sister where I was also an invited VIP there. The Mayor asked me to come to his office on Monday and he would call the relevant files and take steps to cancel the “residence certificate”. On Monday I went to his office, he called the relevant persons and found that the Revenue Officer’s office had issued the certificate and asked me to meet the Revenue Officer. I met the Revenue Officer. He told me that he was new in the office and in fact that day was his first day in the office. The previous officer did it and that he would take steps to cancel the certificate. Apparently Dushtan bribed the previous Revenue Officer, and then the officer issued a “residence certificate”, bypassing the usual procedures of local inspection etc. My meetings with the Mayor and the District Collector’s office stopped that process of issuing a new ration card to the defendants. In this whole episode also God came to my help. Otherwise my driver would not have taken leave, I would not be walking, I would not be talking to the ration shop owner and I would never have known about what was going on until they received their ration cards. Once cards are issued it is very difficult, in fact impossible, to get it cancelled.

 

 

Restarting the testimony

 

The trial restarted and the 4th defendant continued with his stories. He created an airtight network of falsehoods, which was impossible to break through cross-examination. For every statement that I made, he created a story around it. A typical example was the following: I had made a statement that I was not even in Ernakulam on the day when I was supposed to have executed an “agreement” with the first defendant Kudilan. On that day, as per my daily accounts book (Exhibit A 10), I had left for Malabar and by day break I was away from Ernakulam and after 12 to 14 hours of bus trip I reached Manakadavu in north Malabar on that day as per the account book. This was possible only if I left Ernakulam by 5 am to catch at least the last bus from Thaliparambu at 6.30 pm for Manakadavu. The 4th defendant’s story was that on that day early in the morning I asked the 1st defendant and 4th defendant to accompany me to the notary’s office, executed the agreement and I left for Malabar with the original, leaving a notarized copy with them, and that he remembered this event of 15 years back very vividly.

At the end of the testimony of the 4th defendant the judge counted the pages. It was 90 pages. Then he counted my testimony. It was 42 pages. Then he said jokingly that since the 4th defendant took 90 pages we could go up to 180 pages in the cross-examination of the 4th defendant meaning indirectly that since his testimony was iron-clad it would take 180 pages worth of cross-examination to break it or expose all the falsehoods. He knew very well that the 4th defendant was telling a series of lies but he had to go by the books to give a judgment and hence unless we broke the 4th defendant’s story into pieces there was no way to get a clear judgment.

 

 

Cross-examination of the 4th defendant

 

In this historic cross-examination the accumulated experience of my senior advocate O. Ramachandran Nambiar as a District Court judge and as a practicing lawyer came into play. The court clerk had remarked that he had never seen a witness like Dushtan in his life and that the testimony was impossible to break. All other lawyers also remarked the same, and the judge had indirectly remarked the same already. Our strategy was to make Dushtan tell more lies in the areas where we had collected some additional documents. Thus making him to tell more lies with confidence and then to make everything come crashing down with documentary evidence. Advocate Ramachandran Nambiar started asking questions from here and there and in quick succession not leaving time for the 4th defendant to think or line up a sequence of lies. This worked. Naturally the judge could not record because the questions were too quick. The 4th defendant contradicted even in simple things. First we decided to take advantage of the fact that his real birth year was 1965 whereas as per all official records that he produced in court (Exhibit B8 series) his year of birth was 1968. Hence naturally when he narrated in which year he went to kindergarten and primary school it was on record that he could remember things when he was just one year old, he went to kindergarten when he was one year old and started primary school when he was two years old etc. Then he was made to tell that he went to College before completing high school etc because his date of birth was asked only at the end of this sequence of questioning. Then he fumbled, and a person who could remember things when he was one year old, could not remember his date of birth. After thinking for a while he decided to give the date of birth as recorded in the official records, which were already in their marked exhibits and that made the above described contradictions. If he had given his real date of birth then it would have contradicted with the documents filed by them in court, including his passport. Then the senior stopped saying that one sector was finished and then he would start with the next sector the next day.

The judge was a little surprised because he had set aside the whole afternoon for our case and we had taken only half an hour so far. The judge could have posted other cases also for the afternoon if he knew that we were going to take only half an hour. I also did not see the reason. We had written up all questions in a particular sequence, covering various sections, so that we could trap the 4th defendant in each sector. But the senior did not ask the questions in that order. He even mixed up the names of persons and places also. Later I knew the reasons. He could not retain much in his memory when cross-examining, not more than one sector of questions. Also he would not use or look into any note while questioning, possibly due to false pride.

In the second day of cross-examination our senior asked the 4th defendant more about his legal victories so that he would boast more and more. During his testimony he boasted that he had won all the cases that he had filed in various courts. He was asked about the details. There was one case involving my neighbor about a dispute regarding the approach road to our enclave that I had described earlier. That was the time when I gave the power of attorney to him. In his testimony he had flatly denied that I had executed a power of attorney in his favor because it would contradict with the forged “agreement” that they had fabricated at the arrival of their new advocate Nathuram. If there was an agreement, through which I had given my assets to the defendants in 1987, then there was no need for the execution of a power of attorney in 1994. Even though he had given the wrong names and stated that he could not remember the year and official number of the case we approached our neighbor’s advocate and obtained the details and we obtained certified copies of the case file from the court. We found that in that suit he instigated the case and the neighbor had not obtained any court order to block the approach road, as claimed by Dushtan. Dushtan had obtained a power of attorney from me saying that the new neighbor had obtained a court order to close the approach road and that all the people in the enclave got together and decided to fight against it and that he needed a power of attorney to represent me in the fight. We also obtained a certified copy of the judgment in that case. The case was filed in the same Sub Court as O.S.No.1047/1994 and in the affidavit therein Dushtan had stated categorically that he was my power of attorney holder, the house and properties belonged to me and that he and his parents were staying in my house. In the judgment, he and his family were given the right of passage on the approach road on the strength of the power of attorney that I executed in his favor. In the same court, from the same witness stand and under oath, he had stated in his testimony as the main petitioner in O.S.No.1047/1994 that the house and properties belonged to me and he was my power of attorney holder. This testimony was in 1997. Then in 2002 he was telling exactly the opposite from the same witness box of the same court and under oath. In any other country this itself was sufficient to put Dushtan and his advocate in jail for blatant and naked perjury. Our senior made him to say that he had not received any power of attorney of any sort from me in 1994 or at any other time. He and his advocate were confident that we did not have any paper to contradict. We did not file the relevant documents yet because we wanted him to tell more lies.

Another sector where we had collected documents was regarding his statement that he had not taken any loan from the foreigner husband of his sister. In fact we had collected documents from the bank, from the foreigner husband John and from court records to thrash the story in their divorce petition (Exhibit A31) and their police protection petition (Exhibit A49) and to prove, by documentary evidence alone, that they obtained police protection by committing perjury and that everything in the divorce petition was a string of lies. We had in our possession the original bank ledger showing that Dushtan had received Rs 2 lakh as loan, specifically mentioned there as such, from John’s account at the State Bank of India at Ernakulam. As mentioned earlier, John had filed O.S.No.260/2000 in the Sub Court Ernakulam, and obtained a temporary injunction order against the defendants from encumbering properties bought with his money and registered in the defendants’ names without his authorization. The 4th defendant stated that he got quashed ex-parte the temporary injunction order obtained by John. We had documents in our possession to show that this ex-parte judgment was also obtained by committing perjury.

Then another sector that we had collected evidence was about the 4th defendant’s claim about the sale of their properties at Palai. As I mentioned earlier, their original claim of owning “estates” in Puliyannur and Kadappattur was given up and their final claim was that they owned 35 cents of vacant land in Kadappattur. The 4th defendant obtained copies of land tax papers showing that the first defendant owned some land in 1980 and produced these receipts and marked as Exhibits B5, B5 (a). In olden days the land measurements were in “acre” and “cent”. Then the measurements were changed to “hectare” and “are”. The receipts were printed with “hectare” and “are”. When the clerk issued a duplicate receipt to the 4th defendant he did not cancel “are” and did not write as “cents”. Thus it appeared that he paid taxes for 35 “ares” which would amount to about 87 “cents” of land. After seeing this clerical error the 4th defendant and his advocate Nathuram decided to web another story around that also. He stated that their original submission that they owned 35 cents of land was wrong. They in fact owned 35 “ares” or 87 cents of land and that they sold those in 1985 and 1986 at Rs 4,000/- per cent, got around Rs 3.5 lakhs, and invested that also in building my house. The 4 th defendant and his advocate did not know the rate of land taxes in those days. It was only 2 paise per cent and that would amount to 70 paise for 35 cents of land and that was the exact amount in the receipts. My senior advocate asked the 4th defendant whether he had personal knowledge that they owned 87 cents of land and those exhibits were in fact the receipts for their land. He claimed that he had personal knowledge and that they were the receipts. By this time the judge realized that there was something wrong with the receipts. He wanted to see the receipts. After checking, he jokingly remarked that in Palai area the land tax was very low. If it was for 87 cents then the receipt should have been for Rs 1.74 and not Rs 0.70. Then they realized that their story of 87 cents of land had fallen to ground. We had in our possession certified copies of all the sales deeds executed by the first defendant to prove that their story of land sales in 1985, the persons to whom some land was sold in 1986 and the amounts claimed to have been collected were all falsehoods. Thus, we had documents in our possession to quash all their major claims plus all the claims in their police protection petition and divorce petition and the claims of not receiving any financial assistance from me or from the foreigner John.

 

 

Defendants’ claims in a nutshell

 

Their original claims in the divorce petition (Exhibit A31) and police protection petition (Exhibit A49), which were filed by them before the end of March 2000, were that I met Kudilan for the first time in 1983, I told him that I owned a building plot at Edappally (Exhibit A1) and Kudilan could build a house on my plot and move to Ernakulam. Thus, allegedly, Kudilan by using his own funds built the ground floor of my house and started living there! Then Dushtan by using his own funds, when he was 17 and a student (Exhibits B1, B8 Series), built the first floor and completed the house. They predated my first visit to them from 1983 to 1981 and then further back to 1980 later on to make the date of first meeting consistent with their later claims.

Then when their written statement was filed they changed their story to the following: I met them for the first time in 1980 and borrowed Rs 15,000/- from Kudilan to buy the first piece of land in 1981 ( Exhibit A1 ) and borrowed Rs 5,000/- from Kudilan in 1985 for buying the second piece of land ( Exhibit A2). Then I also spent some money for buying the land and constructing the building and thus the defendants and I spent money for buying the land and constructing the building. For “administrative convenience” the lands were registered in my name only and thus all the subsequent papers connected with the land and building happened to be in my name.

In order to claim that they had money to construct the building, first they claimed of having estates in Puliyannur and Kadappattur near Palai, and by selling those estates they collected a lot of money. When this was challenged by us by asking them to produce ownership papers, they had to admit that they were staying in a rented building and they had no estate. Then they claimed that they were staying in a rented building with 7 rooms and they took 3.5 acres of land on “oral rent” and did cultivation. In those three and a half acres of land on “oral rent”, they had rubber nursery, banana garden, vegetable garden and dairy farm and they made an annual net profit of Rs 1 lakh per year from 1965 onwards. They did not do any work by themselves but they employed people to do all that also!

Their new lawyer Nathuram might have suggested that, since they did not have any document in their names, they should create some documents. After March 2000 they created a document in the form of an agreement. They created 3 alleged letters also. The agreement said that I was giving all my assets all over the world to Kudilan and his heirs in return for food and shelter in my old age. The “agreement” was predated to 20th April 1987. It was proved by documentary evidence that the “agreement” was created after the end of March 2000, because there was no mention of the alleged agreement in any of their submissions, including Dushtan’s own cases of 1994-95 (Exhibits A55, A56) their divorce case of February 2000 (Exhibit A31) and their police protection case of March 2000 (Exhibit A49). It was also proved that the signatures appearing there were not that of Kudilan or me, and they were forged by Dushtan (Exhibits A43, A43 (a), A44).

Then they claimed that I was a foreigner and a Canadian citizen and hence my part of the investment in the land and building was null and void. Thus, they were the sole owners of the land and the building!

Their prayers were quite interesting also. They wanted the whole house because my part of the investment had no legal validity, as I was a foreigner. I should be made to pay them at the rate of Rs 10,000/- per month for the wrongful occupation of one room in my house. I should give them compensation at the rate of Rs 25,000/- per person, even though they deserved Rs 1 lakh per person, for their alleged mental suffering at my hand. Their alternate prayers were the following: If the whole house was not given to them then divide the house and properties exactly into two halves and give them half of the land and half of the house, if that was not acceptable then give them the ground floor of the house and if that was not available then allow to maintain the status quo.

To a layman, who knows the ABC of farming, it is clear that it is impossible to make even Rs 10,000/- profit from 3.5 acres of land, let alone taken on rent and employing other people to do the work, and that the whole thing is a pack of lies. But for the courts in Kerala anything goes, and one has to disprove such absurd claims through “evidence”. If the real owner also made only statements stating that the claims were absurd then it would be interpreted as one man’s word against another man’s word and the judge would have to decide the matter, through proper documentary justification when writing the judgment. The 4 th defendant also stated that he had personal knowledge of all these happening from 1965 onwards, when he was born only in 1968 according to his documents produced in the court (Exhibit B8 Series ). Then their final claim was of possessing 35 cents of vacant land, which became 87 cents later on, and selling it and getting Rs 3.5 lakhs. By documentary evidence it was proved that the total holding was a gifted vacant land of 35 cents and by the sale of the whole land Kudilan got a grand total of Rs 6,700/- (six thousand and seven hundred rupees) only. Then they simply claimed that Kudilan’s share of inheritance of the family property was obtained as cash, without mentioning when and how much. It is well known that in Syrian Christian families in Palai area, no boy would be given his family share as cash unless there was nothing to give as share. Sons always got their shares as landed assets and immovable properties and daughters received their shares as cash, usually as dowry at the time of marriage.

The reader can see what types of things are going on in the courts in Kerala. Anybody can make a claim on any property in Kerala saying that he also spent money in acquiring the land and constructing the building and all documents happened to be in the name of the real owner because he allowed it to be so for administrative convenience. In order to circumvent the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act (law against holding property under proxy) he could claim that there existed a fiduciary relationship (master-disciple relationship) between the real owner and him and that he trusted the real owner and the real owner cheated him by not telling the legal implications of registering the properties in the name of the owner. Then the fellow could make a claim on the whole building or on half of the building. Then the claimant could claim the suit to be a “partition suit” and pay very little court fees to fight the case and drag it on for years and the courts would spend months and years of precious time debating such nonsense. In the middle, the court would also ask the real owner to open up the house for the claimant, as happened to me. Then for showing that the claimant had money to build the house, he could make a cock and bull story of taking land on oral rent and doing agricultural activities and making lakhs of rupees worth of net profits every year because there would be no legal documents for taking something on oral rent and about agricultural income. He could also claim that he got his family share as cash, then there would not exist any legal paper to produce, and could also claim that he sold all his assets, collected lakhs of rupees and invested in constructing the building. Then, in order to reinforce the claims, the claimant could also fabricate a few documents with the help of his crooked advocates and a crooked local notary and then he could claim that there existed an “agreement” that the whole property was given to the claimant through that agreement! The burden is on the real owner to prove that the document was a forgery. Even if the owner succeeded to prove that the document was a forgery, there would be no action of any sort against the forgers or culprits. This is the real situation in Kerala, as seen from my own experience.

 

 

Filing of additional documents

 

We had assembled over two-dozen additional documents to tear apart all the claims made by the 4th defendant during his testimony as well as the claims in their written statement. When Advocate Nambiar made the 4th defendant to tell more lies and after making sure that he could not break out from his statements, we filed all the additional documents. After seeing the documents the first thing the honorable judge said was that some real research was done by us. There was at least one good thing with that judge. He used to read every document filed in his court. We made again a request to call me back to the witness stand to mark those documents. The judge repeated that I would not be called back and added that he would not allow the case to be given another dimension, clearly meaning that if all those documents were marked then we could take effective action against the 4th defendant and his lawyer for perjury, for defamation, we would be able to file additional cases for compensation, we could quash the divorce petition and do many more things. He immediately marked on his own three documents, namely the 4th defendant’s case file of O.S. No. 1047/1994, its judgment and one notarized copy of a sales deed of the first defendant, which contained his six real signatures of 1986 period as Exhibits A55, A56, A57. When we went to the buyers of the pieces of vacant land from Kudilan, he had sold 5 cents at a time to meet his daily household expenses, and when the buyers heard what Kudilan and especially his son Dushtan were doing to me, one person gave her real sales deed to us and asked us to return it to her when our use of it would be over. She trusted us with her original sales deed when she heard about the atrocities. The judge was really surprised to see the original sales deed of some other person with a notarized copy for marking. That was the time he made the remark that a real research work was done. There was also another reason for the judge to mark these on his own because on that day our senior Advocate Nambiar was busy in another court and our “chief” was appearing. From previous appearances it was clear to the honorable judge that the “chief” Naarad would not be able to mark any of the documents through the 4th defendant.

Before the “chief” went in, I had requested him and told him specifically that by asking questions to the 4th defendant no documents could be marked. By then we had already on record the 4th defendant’s statements in his testimony. Hence quote a statement and say that there was a document contradicting it and then he could request the judge directly to mark it. This was the only way to mark them. If any question was put to the 4th defendant he would give a calculated reply and the document could not be marked. Contrary to my request and suggestion, he took a document in his hand and put a question to the 4th defendant with the aim of marking the document. The 4th defendant gave an answer and spoiled the chance of marking that document. Apparently, without getting a contradiction from the defendant one could not mark a document through him. The “chief” took the next document and again put another question and the same thing happened. That also could not be marked. After a few of them he decided to follow what I had suggested. But since he had not read the testimony of the 4th defendant he could not locate the contradictory statements of the 4th defendant.

After the drama for a few minutes the judge jokingly remarked that cross-examination did not mean crossing the court back and forth. The “chief” was simply taking a document and walking to the 4th defendant, getting bumped out by the answer, coming back to the desk, taking the next document and repeating the same. The “chief” could not get a single document, out of the two dozen documents, marked through the 4th defendant, except the three documents marked by the judge himself.

 

 

My chief’s explosion in the courtroom

 

As I mentioned earlier, the “chief” never looked into the case files or the prepared questionnaires before asking questions. On one occasion he was asking questions to the 4th defendant, when our senior Advocate Nambiar was away. Our senior advocate, other advocates and I had warned the “chief” that the defendants’ advocate Nathuram would try to annoy him while asking questions and would try to disrupt the trial and he should be calm and quiet and continue with the questions in the prepared order. To each question the “chief” put, the defendants’ advocate would object claiming that the question was compounded or could not be given a straight answer or something like that. Most of the time the defendants’ advocate himself would answer the question in the form of raising objection. After a while the “chief” exploded. The shouting match went on for about five minutes. When the shouting was finished the judge was really angry with our “chief”. When the shouting was going on I had a gut feeling that our “chief” was trying purposely to spoil my case. The judge said that he did not appreciate anyone shouting in his court room and shouting showed only inexperience and incompetence, clearly meaning that our “chief” did not know anything and he was trying to cover up by shouting. The judge even added that some judges would take shouting into consideration and it would reflect in the judgment. Until that day the judge had great respect for our “chief” because they were contemporaries in the college days or that they were assistants to the same senior advocate at different periods or something like that. With that shouting, our “chief” lowered himself to the level of the defendants’ advocate, and after that day the judge treated him also like that.

I was furious at our “chief”. With various earlier incidents I was suspecting that either my “chief” was trying to foul up my case or trying to delay it. With this shouting match, after plenty of prior warning against it, I was more convinced that the “chief” was trying to foul up my case. I informed our senior Advocate Nambiar about what happened. He was unhappy also. After the shouting match the judge was quite gloomy and started postponing the trial one week at a time. Then came the stage of asking routine questions to the 4th defendant to get denials as a strange process in the trial. A question would be put to the defendant and the defendant would deny or in other words tell a lie. Apparently this was to be done for every item, and otherwise the trial would not be complete! To a layman like me it did not make sense. This was what the judge also remarked at the beginning but our senior advocate said that it was essential to close all loopholes. For routine questions the senior’s presence was not necessary. The “chief” was to ask the questions. There was also an added reason. Our senior did not want the judge to continue to be angry at our “chief” for the shouting. By allowing the “chief” to ask routine questions the previous pleasant atmosphere could be brought back because the judge used to be always in a happy mood while the trial was going on. He used to stop and make jokes during the trial.

A questionnaire was prepared and the questions were written up in a proper sequence. As usual, the “chief” never studied the questions or looked into the sequence. He asked from here and there and missed out a lot of important questions and not all required denials were obtained. Thus the testimony of the 4th defendant, the only one appearing on behalf of all the defendants, was over. Then as a last step, our senior advocate was to ask a few questions for ten to fifteen minutes to fill up the gap of missing denials.

The case was posted for another day when I had to be in Trivandrum for the General Body, Council and Executive Committee meetings of the Centre, for which the required prior one-month notice was already given. The chief assured me that I could go without any worry and that he would look after it and that he would drive our senior to the court himself and the cross-examination would be closed. The judge had stated that he wanted to close the trial in that week and that he would like to write the judgment within a week or two. Practically only fifteen minutes of one day for our senior to ask a few questions plus one day or two for finishing the examination of their witnesses remained to be done. I went to Trivandrum as scheduled. When I came back I found that the “chief” did not take the senior to the courtroom as promised and in fact nobody went to the courtroom and the judge was very angry and he postponed the case for one month as requested by the defendants’ advocate. Even the defendants got surprised and several crank calls came into my mobile to make sure that I did not go abroad. They could not figure out our strategy of delaying the case by us at the last moment. There was no strategy and there was only an attempt from our “chief” Narad to delay or torpedo the trial. When I asked my “chief” what happened, whether someone was there at the court from our side, he claimed that the judge on his own had already postponed. Soon I found out that it was not correct and nobody from our side appeared in the court on that day. After seeing what happened, my suspicion of my “chief” became very strong. I was seriously thinking of removing my “chief” from the team. Then I was not sure whether the senior would stay if I removed the “chief”. I cursed the day when I chose my first advocate Homer. All problems started with him. Now I was in a real dilemma whether to change my third team at this last moment or not.

Then the next posting date of the case came. Our senior, our “chief” and a junior and I went into the court for the roll call at 11 am. The judge used to call our case first and fix the time in the afternoon. But apparently he was annoyed because nobody turned up last time. He did not call our case. He went through the serial order routine. Then our senior and “chief” got annoyed and left the courtroom and went to their car to go to the High Court. The junior came and told me what was happening. Then I was really furious. I told the junior that our case was going to be called right away and if the “chief” and the senior did not come back and if the trial was again postponed then definitely I was going to look for another team of lawyers to continue with the trial. When the junior gave that message they came back. The judge had realized exactly what was going on after seeing the commotion. He had also noticed my absence during the previous occasion and non-arrival of my team. As soon as the senior and the “chief” came back to the courtroom the judge called the case. The senior said that he needed only 15 minutes. The judge allowed. He asked the remaining questions for which the denials were needed and closed the cross-examination of the 4th defendant. Then the defendants’ lawyer wanted one month’s delay saying that he had to take his father-in-law to Mumbai for treatment. This was already preplanned. I had already seen the defendants’ advocate talking to our “chief” something hushed up. I gathered that they were agreeing to postpone the trial and I was correct. The case was posted for 12,13,14,of August 2002 to finish everything.

 

 

Defendants’ witnesses

 

The next step was to examine and cross-examine the defendants’ witnesses. Their star witness was the owner of Garuda Security and Manpower Inc. As mentioned earlier, I had hired two security men from this agency and signed a contract for one month. Within ten days I found that the security men were working for the defendants and that the women (Kundi and Paanchaali) were very close to the owner of the Security Agency. I had asked him to cancel the contract, refund the deposit and withdraw the men. He did not do and his men were there for one month and then they left. The owner of Garuda Security, as the star witness for the defendants, said that his agency worked for me for three months and during the third month I asked for his help to rape the women (Kundi and Paanchaali) and then he withdrew his men. Everyone could see that he was telling utter lies. He started his testimony by referring to me as “mathai”. Usually everybody referred to me as Dr. Mathai or professor or master or something like that. But calling simply “mathai” was purposely showing disrespect. The judge was really angry when he repeated “mathai” many times and I could see the anger from his face. Then the witness shouted at my senior advocate when he asked a question. The judge got so angry and told the defendants’ advocate to discipline his witness, otherwise the judge knew how to handle people like that and asked the witness: “ What is your qualification to run a security agency? Are you an ex-police man or ex-military man?” He said no. “What is your educational background?” He said: “ that he studied up to pre-degree. The judge said: “ you do not even have respect for the court”. It was clear to the court that the fellow was telling utter lies; he was an unscrupulous fellow and a goonda.

Their next witness claimed that he did some odd jobs at my house for the defendants and he had seen me there occasionally and I was only using one room and I looked like the defendants’ guest etc. We did not see the purpose of that witness and what the defendants wanted to achieve through him. Probably they wanted to claim that they were landlords and someone else did the cleaning job for them. Then their next star witness was my former driver, then he was my foreman who collaborated with the defendants in fabricating the cases of electricity failure and water failure at my house when I was abroad and whom I caught red-handed from the house and banished from my compound for ever. He started saying that while he was brought to my house by my brother-in-law my brother-in-law asked him to buy a chisel and screwdriver. He bought. When they reached my house I asked him to change the locks in my doors. He did. Apparently he was called to establish that I changed the locks and the defendants did not change the locks and my foreman changed the locks for me. It was all a lie. The judge asked him: “Are you a carpenter?” He said no. “Are you trained to change locks?” He said no and said that he was a driver. He stated that I changed the locks through him, that Garuda Security men were there in my property for three months, I cut off water and electricity etc, all utter lies.

Our senior advocate cross-examined the witness. Upon cross-examination he admitted that electricity was there when I left for Canada, it was there for the next 10 days when my nephew visited; it was there during his visit and went off after his visit. Thus his version was that my nephew removed the fuse that nobody else including the defendants had that version before. Then he claimed that when my brother came from Palai to check about the alleged electricity problem and when he opened the electricity switchboard room he found one fuse removed. The witness thought that the kitchen was on one fuse but the kitchen items were on four different fuses, the northern side lights on one fuse, the southern side lights on another fuse, the cooking range on one fuse and all the plug points were on the fourth fuse.

After I fired him he was driving taxi for a gentleman at Mundakkayam, in Kottayam District. Thus for getting such a coaching from the defendants and their lawyer this fellow had to take a three-hour bus trip in the evening after his work with the taxi was over, then a three-hour trip back. He took a lot of strain on behalf of the defendants. When he was listed as a defendants’ witness we had done some research on the backgrounds of all witnesses including him. We found out that he worked for an American-returned fellow at a place called Chotti as a taxi driver. He stole items from the taxi car and did not give the collected money to the owner. When the owner found out that the driver was cheating him the owner fired the driver. Then he used abusive words against the owner. The owner filed a case for recovering the money that was stolen from the owner. He was convicted in that case and he was paying back the owner a small amount each month as per the arrangement made by the court. We also found that he had a real wife with two kids and he had a concubine, whose husband was in the Gulf, whom he had taken to a temple and went through a Hindu marriage ceremony and he was living with her, whenever her husband was in the Gulf, with the consent of her parents. These two items of information were sufficient to tear apart the credibility of his testimony.

At the cross-examination, our senior advocate asked: “When did you marry your first wife and how many children are there in this marriage?” He answered. The next question: “When did you marry your second wife?” He answered that he did not marry her meaning that he was only living with her. The judge spared the embarrassment and recorded that he only married once and he had only one wife. The next question was whether he knew such and such American-returned person. It was a surprise to him and he thought that we never knew about that. Then he knew what was coming. But he had not told these two secrets to the defendants’ advocate; otherwise the advocate Nathuram would have trained him to answer such a question. He looked at the 4th defendant and Nathuram. For all other questions they were telling the answer by sign language. This time they could not tell any. Hence he admitted knowing the American-returned fellow. Then by quoting the case file number and naming the court and place he was asked whether there was a case and a judgment against him. This time also he looked at the defendants’ lawyer for an answer. He could not give any sign. If he denied and if we had the copy of the case file with us then he would be caught telling falsehood. Hence he admitted. Our senior asked saying that whether there was a judgment of paying back Rs 1 lakh to the owner. Then he said that it was for Rs 7,000/- and not for one lakh. Thus he admitted that he was a convicted felon. Thus his testimony was of no help to the defendants.

Later I came to know that as soon as I fired him from the foreman’s job at my house, the defendants manufactured a case of theft against me with the City Commissioner of Police and this fellow testified before the Commissioner that he saw me removing an inverter and battery, for which the defendants had assembled receipts even though every item in the house was paid for by me, and based on his testimony the Commissioner charged the case and the police went to my brother-in-law’s house to recover the stolen goods as per his direction. There were no stolen goods there. He was telling a lie. The only items removed from the house were old books and magazines, which were dumped by him in the city dumps as per my directions, when he was my driver.

I came to know that the defendants also manufactured another case of molestation of the women (Kundi and Paanchaali) and the Garuda Security owner went to the City Police Commissioner to testify, what he had stated in the court, and that a case was charged and sent to the local police. The local police never contacted me and hence I did not know what happened to the two cases.

The defendants had three more witnesses in their list. We had collected incriminating evidences against two of them also, and the third was their notary through whom they fabricated the forged document called the “agreement”. After the disaster with their star witnesses, my former foreman and the former security agency owner, they decided, wisely, not to put the next two witnesses on the witness stand. Their last witness, the notary, did not want to come to the court and face the judge. When the defendants’ advocate, all on a sudden, stated that their last witness, the notary, was sick and asked for a long postponement of the case, luckily the “chief’s” wife was there from our side. She asked for a court commission right away. If the “chief” was there then he would have agreed for indefinite postponement until the fellow recovered from the so-called “sickness” or died. Thus we lost only another two weeks in this regard. At the cross-examination at the house of the notary, our senior could prove that the notary did many things against the notary’s rules and guidelines. He had not recorded the details in his official books; he claimed to have lost his official books and so on. He contradicted himself by saying that he was only witnessing the creation of the “agreement” but he used notary’s seal and certified also indicating that he notarized and not simply witnessed. Even for witnessing, he did not verify the identities of the persons involved when he certified that so and so signed before him. I made a formal complaint against the notary to the Law Secretary in the State and the complaint went through many stages and I did not know the final outcome of it, probably nothing happened to him.

With all these unnecessary delays, either precipitated by my “chief” or preplanned by the defendants’ lawyer with the full connivance of my “chief”, all the time limits set by the judge were gone and the judge himself lost interest in the case.

 

 

Shocking news

 

The judge knew that he was going to be promoted and transferred and hence he wanted to finish the case and write the judgment before he left. That was why he was setting the timetable. Also he had to finish the case because a formal time limit was set by the District Court and then by the High Court, and again by the High Court after the stay order was lifted. When the judge noted that our coordinator, namely our “chief” Narad, was delaying the trial at various stages he even made indirect statement that we were delaying unnecessarily. Then, when we filed the last two-dozen documents he thought that we were waiting to collect those documents. But we had collected those documents long back. At that time also he remarked that now the trial could go faster because all the documents were in. Then when he found again delays from our side and the “chief’s” explosion in the court, he lost interest. On 6th September 2002 the Honorable Judge announced that he got a transfer, which would take effect in a few days. He did not want to hurry through the final arguments and finish the case. Only the final arguments remained to close our case. The judge then added that if the plaintiff and the defendants requested him to continue the trial in his court then he would be willing to do it. Luckily his new court was in the same complex and he was not transferred out of the city.

We inquired about the new judge who was going to take charge in that court. We found that he was not familiar with civil matters, he was mainly dealing with criminal matters, he was not corrupt, he had great respect for education and educated people and he himself was an author who had published some books in the local language Malayalam. Hence I decided the following: First try to transfer the case to the previous judge’s court and if that failed then try with the new judge but press for criminal action against the defendants and their advocate for perjury. There was already plenty of documentary evidence for a successful conclusion of a perjury case against the 4th defendant and his lawyer Nathuram. The defendants must have also inquired about the new judge and they might have also got the same information. The defendants’ advocate was more eager to transfer the case to the old judge. I entrusted the transfer matters to our “chief”. He did not do anything. Then the defendants’ lawyer did all the paperwork and with several delays finally the case went to the previous judges’ court. The normal procedure for transfer was itself too lengthy. The court clerk had to make a separate sheet for each item in the documents and write the details there. As per information, he had to make 935 sheets like that. It took exactly two months for the transfer to be complete. This was the minimum possible delay because we had given presents to the clerks to speed up the process as fast as possible. Finally the judge posted the case for 25th November 2002. Meanwhile he had written to the High Court for time extension because several extended time limits were over by then.

Apparently there was a last chance for negotiation before the final arguments started. The judge suggested a last minute negotiated settlement before the final argument started and posted the case for 2nd December 2002. On the 2nd December 2002 I noted that the senior had not taken the argument note in the morning. I was with him in the morning. Then I realized that something was wrong and that the “chief” had agreed for a postponement with the defendants’ advocate. As expected, at the time of roll call a junior from the defendants’ team came and said that their advocate’s father-in-law was in the hospital and asked for 10 days of postponement. On that ground alone they had already obtained two postponements before. The judge said that he would post it for 12th December 2002. Our “chief”, in spite of my specific instructions not to agree to postponement this time, he immediately asked for postponement until 18th December 2002 knowing fully well that on 18th there would be a pre-announced all-India level lawyers’ strike. The judge did not agree to postpone until 18th. Our senior was going to be out of station from 11th to 15th, which was known to the defendants also. That was why they asked for 12th. Now there was a problem. As the plaintiff, I had to make a written request to postpone the case. This would weaken my position that I wanted the trial to be over as soon as possible. I asked the “chief:” to prepare a submission right away on 2nd itself so that we could file it on the 3rd citing the real reason and requesting for posting the case for 16th. He would not do it. Finally the senior suggested to prepare a request stating that his near relative expired on 10th and he had to leave on 11th and he would be away on 12th and 13th and hence to post it for 16th. The “chief” would not agree to put a date stating that it was inappropriate for me to suggest a date. I did not see any impropriety in that. He wanted to state it as “any convenient date after 13th” which could easily be interpreted as after the Christmas vacation which was to start on 20th and could go until 9th January 2003. I realized that the plan worked out by our “chief” and the defendants’ advocate was to postpone beyond the holidays. Finally, attracting his displeasure, I managed to incorporate the phrase “at the earliest convenient date after 13th”. On 12^th,^ the day the case was posted our “chief” wanted to meet the judge in his chamber before the court started at 11 am. It was a surprise move and there was absolutely no urgent need. Before the “chief” was going to the chamber of the judge I suggested to a junior in our team that he should tell the “chief” to request the judge to post the case for 16th so that the argument could be finished before the Christmas vacation. The junior kept mum and I realized that the “chief” was going to say the opposite. The “chief” went into the chamber of the judge and came out with a smile. We went to the court for the roll call. On each occasion I was inside the courtroom standing at the back. The judge had been seeing me every time and the judge knew my anxiety. While the “chief” was passing by the defendants’ advocate I heard him saying “after the vacation”. Apparently they had colluded to postpone it to January 2003 and the “chief” had gone to the judge to convey this message. By all the delays and so many postponements the judge also realized that those postponements were against my wish. When the roll call came the judge said that he would post for 17th, then realizing that 18th would be a day of strike he said that he was posting it for 16th and added that nobody needed to come for roll call, meaning that he did not want to see any more postponement, and come for argument at 2.15 pm on 16th. He also added that he would cut short to half an hour the argument from the plaintiff’s side and asked the defendants’ advocate how much time he would need. He said one hour if we were only taking half an hour.

Finally, after more than three months of the due date for starting the final arguments, the final argument started at 2.15 pm on 16th December 2002. Our senior started his argument using his handwritten notes. We had prepared a typewritten note. After half an hour he himself realized that he was not doing it systematically and started using the typewritten notes. The judge asked the defendants’ counsel to start his argument on 17th December 2002 at 2 pm. The defendants’ counsel started as scheduled and went to 4.30 pm. He was not even half way through. The judge wanted to know how long more and mentioned again that he wanted to write the judgment during Christmas holidays. The defendants’ counsel said that he wanted only half an hour more. The case was posted for 19th since there would be a strike on 18th. On 19th also he took one and a half hours out of which about 45 minutes were wasted for rehashing what he said on the previous day. It was clear that he wanted to stall and cross the vacation period. The judge showed signs of uneasiness and asked the counsel again. He said that he needed only a few minutes more. The case was posted for 20th at 12.30 pm, the last day for the court before the vacation. The “chief” of my team declared that the defendants’ counsel was going to take the whole day of 20th and then we would have to reply after the vacation. I told him that the judge would cut short and we must be prepared to give the reply. On 20th morning I called my senior. He was not prepared to argue. I told him that if he was not well then we should ask for permission to give argument note rather than oral presentation. I said that it was giving me emotional and physical stress and I wanted the case to be closed at any rate. At the appointed time of 12.30 pm on 20th the judge called the case and asked the defendants’ counsel to present what he wanted to present. He said again that he wanted to close the case. A junior in our team was sent by our chief to take down notes. At about 2 pm the judge asked the junior whether we wanted to say anything more. Then the junior said that he wanted a postponement of the case. This was the instruction given to him by our “chief”. The judge was really angry. He said that he could start the afternoon session at 3 pm. If my counsel would be there at that time then he would allow some time, otherwise he would close the case for sure. Immediately I went out and tried to contact the “chief” and the senior by phone. None was available. Then I asked our junior to go to High Court and collect the senior or if not he should ask the judge permission to give our argument as an argument note. He rushed and luckily he could collect our senior and could come back by 2.55 pm. As scheduled, at the 3 pm the judge started the afternoon session. He called our case. Our senior took one and a half hours and argued two points. Since he did not look into the matter the previous or on the same day he was very slow. Otherwise he could have finished the matter in fifteen minutes. Then he said that the balance would be given in the argument note. Even though the whole process was an emotional roller coaster due to the actions and delaying tactics of our “chief” the final argument went satisfactorily well due to the sincerity of my senior advocate and the magnanimity of the presiding judge. The honorable judge said that the argument note must be ready within a few days but in any case before 27th of December 2002 and that he was planning to pronounce the judgment on 4th January 2003.

 

 

Argument note

 

We had already prepared the argument note by 9th September 2002. The trial of the case was supposed to be over by the first week of June 2002 and the judge had already stated that he wanted to write the judgment during the second week of June 2002. Only due to our chief’s delaying tactics, in collusion with the defendants’ advocate, the trial dragged on. Then by all calculations the trial was supposed to be over by the end of August 2002 and hence Advocate Nambiar dictated the argument note and I typed it up and made ready. Since then many things had happened and many more points were brought out in the various testimonies and hence the whole note was redrafted and retyped. The 45-paged note was ready by 24th December 2002 to be given to the honorable judge by 26^th,^ as he wanted. When everything was ready the “chief” wanted to get a copy of the finalized note and he wanted to check and make corrections. He only wanted to pass on a copy to the defendants’ advocate and to keep it to cross the deadline of 27th December 2002. After that date the honorable judge was going on his vacation. I had already decided to remove the “chief” from my team but I did not want to annoy our senior. At this stage I had to tell my senior that I did not want a copy of the argument note to be given to the “chief” , Narad, because he would pass it on to the defendants’ lawyer Nathuram and then Nathuram would make a reply to our note as his submission, which would nullify our note. We submitted the note and placed it on the table of the Honorable Judge. Then the “chief” quarreled with the senior and insisted on seeing the note and filing it through his office. In order to avoid more complications at this last moment, the senior himself went to the Honorable Judge, took back the note saying that one or two corrections to be made, gave a copy to the “chief” and resubmitted. By this time the deadline was over and the honorable judge had already gone for his vacation. Thus the “chief” achieved one of his aims. One good thing happened was that the defendants’ advocate had submitted his notes by 27th and hence his notes were submitted before seeing our note. I prayed to God that the honorable judge would get a chance to look into our note before he wrote the judgment. Since he already knew that our note existed he had called for it when we submitted it and he had looked into it also before writing the judgment.

 

 

The judgment

 

The judgment was pronounced on 8th January 2003 and it was favorable to us. Vacant possession was allowed; permanent injunction was disallowed because, as expected, it was time-barred. Compensation of Rs 5,000/- per month for the defendants’ use of the three rooms, from the day the suit was filed, was not allowed saying that no breakdown or itemization of Rs 5,000/- was given. The suit was decreed with cost against the defendants and all the defendants’ claims and prayers were rejected. It was clear that if I had proceeded with the original prayers of Advocate Homer then my suit would have been rejected after three years of fight and I would have to start from the beginning, and most probably by staying outside. If I had kept the original advocate Homer then by the time the suit came for trial I would have been out of my house already because through courts the defendants would have been given the full occupation of the house, part by part.

On 8th January 2003, the day of the judgment also the “chief” tried to foul up the day. In the morning itself the bench clerk had told us that the judgment would be pronounced on that day. Our “chief” was there in the morning to attend to another case of his. After that case was called, he came to me and said that he was leaving and he told me also to leave with him because the judgment was not going to be pronounced because if it was to be pronounced then it would have been done in the morning itself. I did not go with him because I knew that the judgment was going to be pronounced on that day. After the roll call was over, the honorable judge took the judgment and signed it. Then the defendants’ counsel, who was present from the morning, asked the honorable judge whether he could read it. The judge said yes. He sat there and read the whole thing. I collected it from him and read while the court proceedings were going on. Soon after the defendants’ counsel finished reading it he served me a notice saying that he was moving a motion to suspend the judgment for at least two weeks after getting official copy of the judgment. I finished reading and then went outside and called the “chief”, then the senior and then the juniors. None was available over the phone. The defendants’ counsel was planning to take advantage of the absence of my counsel and collect an ex-parte decision in his favor. At this stage I asked the clerks in the main office whether, as plaintiff, I was allowed to talk in the court if my counsel was absent. They said that I could. Then I went back to the court and waited. By this time the honorable judge had realized what had happened. He had seen the defendants’ counsel serving notice on me, I going out in panic and then returning to the courtroom and waiting. Luckily one junior came in for something else. I asked him to go personally to the High Court, talk to the senior and if possible collect the senior or the “chief” and come to the court fast. He went out to do that. Then the defendants’ counsel moved his motion. I showed sign that I was going to oppose. I was going to say to give them a total of two weeks. I thought that the copy was available the next day. This was what the “chief” told me before. The honorable judge realized that some foul up would be there if I was allowed to talk. The honorable judge said that he would like to hear the plaintiff’s counsel also and posted it for the afternoon at 3 pm.

By 2.45 pm the “chief” came in. I could not get time to eat lunch because I was frantically calling all of them again taking into account that the junior, who was sent, could miss them. At 3 pm the honorable judge took up the file. I told the “chief” not to allow any time. But he stated that a total of three weeks could be given for appeal and not only that he gave an undertaking that the defendants would not be evicted for one month and that they would be evicted through courts etc, all contrary to my instructions. I was planning to call my relatives and throw them out and to let them file appeal and fight the case staying outside and not inside my house. Thinking that I might try to do that, the “chief” purposely made all those statements in the court against my wishes. By this time it was confirmed for the 20th time that the “chief”, Narad, was working to safeguard the defendants’ interests.

Meanwhile the defendants’ counsel went to the Honorable Judge and made a complaint that he did not get a copy of our argument note. The judge asked him whether he gave us a copy. He said that he did not. Then the Honorable Judge asked the court clerk to collect from both sides and transfer the argument notes. When I got, what was claimed to be the argument note of the defendants’ counsel, it had bits and pieces of material and a few pages were repeated. He was planning to give that junk to us in the name of argument note and I was very sure that what he had given to the judge was something different. I pointed out that a few pages were repeated and others were not connected, then they supplied yet another few pages and the combined pages still did not make sense. At that stage I did not care about their note. We gave to the defendants’ advocate a good copy of the notes that we had given to the Honorable Judge. This incident was one of the series of foul strategies the defendants’ advocate was using. Since only the judge and the advocate knew about what was supplied in the name of argument note he was trying to collect a genuine copy of our argument note. Then he wanted to prepare a reply to our note and give to the judge that as his argument note, and then he wanted to give us some scrap papers claiming that to be his argument note. I could spoil that strategy even though he had tried to collect the argument note through our “chief” and the chief tried his level best to get a copy of the argument note from us well in advance.

By 5th February 2003 the judgment copy came and they had time until 8th February 2003 to make their appeal. There were several omissions and mistakes in the Appendix in the list of documents. Apparently the defendants did not give the list of their documents purposely so that the judgment copy would be delayed. Then the typist asked us to give them a list of the defendants’ documents. I had made correction in our file list and I was going to type it myself, and give to the clerk. Then the “chief” claimed that he was going to do the typing in his office. Then I went and gave a corrected copy to him. As usual, he did not allow his wife to type it and waited for the last minute. When the court typist gave the ultimatum, there was no time to type and give. Hence his wife printed out an old file and gave to the court. This file was made for my own purpose. It had written in comments like “another bogus petition”, “forged document” etc. The court typist did not check and did not delete these remarks either. The defendants’ counsel gave “show cause memos” to all the clerks in the office and an official written complaint to the honorable judge. The honorable judge immediately recalled the copies of the judgment and also transferred the main court clerk and gave another one-month’s time extension for the defendants to file the appeal. The defendants achieved all the delays what they wanted, with the help of our “chief”. Our “chief” had literally become a “dog in the manger” or a full agent for the defendants.

 

 

A fabricated criminal case

 

The defendants wanted to divert my attention from the main eviction case. With the help of Kalamassery police they had already fabricated a criminal case against my day watchman and me claiming that the watchman and I tried to molest the 3rd defendant Paanchaali at 3.30 pm on 3rd April 2002. I had explained before, that on that day Dushtan had attacked my day watchman, unprovoked, and the Kalamassery police only reluctantly received our petition. But that incident took place between 5.30 pm and 6.00 pm because I reached back to my house only around 5.30 pm on that day. On that day I was at Palai at the Meenachil Registry Office to collect certified copies of some documents to file for the eviction case. This criminal case was pursued actively through the Magistrate’s Court at Aluva. I came to know about it only by chance. One day, when a new SI took charge at the Kalamassery Police Station I went to see him to get acquainted with. The station writer (office manager) was also present at the SI’s place on that Sunday. While talking to him I mentioned that the Kalamassery police never gave me my basic police protection and they had harassed me continuously on behalf of the defendants etc and I said that fortunately there was no case lately. Then the SI remarked that there was one case at Aluva court. I said that was not possible. The SI asked the office manager and he casually admitted. Until that time the office manager was telling me that there was no case against me and I could do my work without worrying about police cases. Then I made a search at Aluva court and, to my horror, I found that the police was actively processing a criminal case against my day watchman and me and the case had gone up to the summons stage.

The court would issue a summons to the accused through the police. If the case was framed with the active support of the police then the police would not serve that summons to the accused but instead they would return it to the court saying that the accused was in station but refused to receive the summons. Then the court would issue a second summons. The same process would be repeated. Then the court would issue an arrest warrant. Then the police would wait until a Friday or Saturday evening to come and arrest the person and put in police jail. They could retain him in the police cell at least for one day and thus they could humiliate and manhandle him because the court would not be open on a Sunday and sometime not on Saturdays also.

Immediately I took certified copies of the case file from the Magistrate’s court at Aluva with the aim of getting it quashed through the High Court and entrusted the matter with our coordinator, the “chief”. I told him to frame a petition for the High Court to quash the proceedings at Aluva court and that the court would issue an arrest warrant if we did not take action immediately. He kept on postponing. Finally I wrote up something and with the help of the senior got it corrected and gave it to him to file. He said that by that type of petition I could not get the proceedings quashed. He insisted on impleading (incorporating into the case) Dushtan as the de-facto complainant. I told him that from the layman’s point of view that was a foolish step because Dushtan’s advocate then would have a chance to tell utter lies in court and then the High Court would be confused and would allow the trial to go through at the Aluva court. Then at Aluva court our position would be weakened because they could argue that we tried to quash the proceedings through the High Court and the High Court refused to quash it because the police case was correct. I told the “chief” that it was a police case and police was the party conducting it and we did not have to care under whose instigation the original case was filed. Hence we should list only the police as the other party. The “chief” postponed saying that he had to think over if I did not want to implede Dushtan. Expecting many days delay with the “chief” I had requested the Aluva court clerk to list the case for April 2003 only, thinking that whatever be the delay with the “chief” it would not go to April 2003.

Finally I requested our senior to make the petition. He made and I typed it up and gave to the “chief” to file it. He refused saying that unless he made it the way he wanted it he would not allow anything to be filed through his office. Then I was certain that the “chief” wanted me to get arrested by the police then there would be panic and plenty of chances of extorting funds from me. I knew that he was bought out by Nathuram and Dushtan. I decided to take all the case files away from him and remove him as the coordinator of my third team of lawyers. By this time I was quite certain that he was not working to safeguard my interest rather that he was seeing me only as the main source of his income, and the more I was put into difficulties and cornered, he had better chances of extracting more money from me.

 

 

Taking away the case files from the chief

 

Even though I was thinking of removing the “chief” as the coordinator of my third team of advocates for a long time, in fact since June 2002, I was afraid that the senior and the junior Advocate George would quit along with the “chief”. I was at a stage that I had to make an ultimate decision. I told the senior that I was thinking of taking the case files away from the “chief” and give back to the second team’s office and make Advocate George as the new coordinator and I said that I would like to have him act as the senior in my new team. He said that he would have no difficulty if the request came from the second team’s office. Then I talked to Advocate George. He said that he could coordinate and his office would not have any problem. Then I decided to remove all advocates from my third team except Advocate Nambiar and Advocate George.

I went to the chief and told that I was taking the files from him. He never thought that I would take away the files. He knew that it was my third team and that I would not go for another team at this late stage. He wanted a couple of days to organize. When I went back after a couple of days he said that he had to prepare the bills. I told him that he could prepare the bills and give to me later but he should give me the files. He gave some of the files. When I went back for the remaining files I asked for his bill. He said that he had not prepared yet and that he would prepare and give later. He gave all the remaining files, excluding the argument note. He had misplaced and lost one bundle of certified copies of documents. I did not think that he purposely threw the bundle away but my feeling was that due to his careless way of keeping the files that bundle was lost in some court room somewhere and most probably Dushtan had taken it away. I had already paid all his inflated bills, and besides that, he had borrowed nearly Rs 40,000/- on different occasions when he was in dire need of funds when he ran out of funds during his house construction. Hence I knew that if he prepared his bills properly then he would have to give me Rs 40,000/- back. He never gave me his bills.

Soon after taking the files out from the “chief” we filed Crl M.C.No.1473/2003 in the Honorable High Court to quash the criminal proceedings in CC 1555/2002 of the Aluva court, in the case file No.161/2002 of Kalamassery police. We did not implede anyone and police was the only other party. There were many inconsistencies in the case file because the case was made in a hurry and filed with over enthusiasm and over confidence by the police. We also filed several supporting documents, which were marked. The details of the case will be given elsewhere when I discuss my experiences with the police. The case was listed. Every day we waited in the court from 10.15 am until 4.30 pm. On the seventh day it was taken up. That judge never used to quash criminal proceedings. My senior and everyone in the team were worried that it might not be quashed. I was confident that it would be quashed because we had given all supporting documentary evidence and pointed out all inconsistencies to show that the case was fabricated. During such trials usually the honorable judge would ask the government prosecutor appearing on behalf of the police about his opinion, because when the police was conducting a case it was a government case. I noticed that he used to accept whatever the government prosecutor stated. When our case was being heard the honorable judge did not ask the government prosecutor anything and set the file aside for judgment. All the advocates in our team were certain that the judgment was against us because the honorable judge did not even ask the government prosecutor, and he had only quashed two cases so far out of the hundreds of cases that he heard in his court. I said that our case was very clear to him and he did not have to ask the government prosecutor, and if he wanted to dismiss our case then he could have simply stated in the court itself that it was dismissed. Hence I was optimistic about the outcome. As I expected, the judge quashed the proceedings and remarked that the police was misusing the process of law.

I had already made a complaint with the Director General of Police (DGP) at Trivandrum to take action against the Station Writer (office manager) and one Sub Inspector at Kalamassery police station for fabricating the criminal case against me. When I got the judgment from the Honorable High Court I sent a copy of the judgment to the DGP and requested him to dismiss the two officers from the police force and to take action against all who were involved at various stages in fabricating the criminal case. I heard that the SI had retired by then and hence no action could be taken against him and all others were transferred out of Ernakulam area. Thus, at least something was done in this regard.

 

 

Filing of appeal against the eviction case and the chief’s mischief

 

In order to avoid someone filing an appeal and getting an ex-parte judgment there is a provision to file a caveat. Caveat is a request to the court that the caveator (the fellow filing the caveat) should also be heard by the court before taking a decision on the matter. In order to file a caveat one has to send registered notices to the opposite party first and then with the postal registration slips of those notices, one has to file a caveat (petition) in the court. In the eviction case O.S.No.103/2000 the defendants had the option of filing an appeal either at the District Court or at the High Court. I went myself to the post office and sent 8 registered letters, two each to the four defendants, one for the District Court and one for the High Court and then gave the four registration slips for the District Court to Advocate George and the four for the High Court to the “chief” to be filed at the respective courts. The “chief” was the coordinator at that time, I had not taken away the case files from him by then and George used to file documents in the Sub Court and District Court and the “chief” used to file in the High Court. I assumed that those were filed on time. I checked with both. George told me that he filed at the District Court right away and the “chief” told me that he filed at the High Court right away.

Then one day my middleman lawyer Malik, about whom I had mentioned earlier, called me over my mobile phone saying that the defendants’ appeal came in the High Court and it was being heard at the sixth court and there was nobody appearing from my side. Again by God’s grace the middleman lawyer had gone to that court for something else. By this time I had taken the case files away from the “chief” and Advocate George was the new coordinator, Advocate Nambiar was our senior and one Advocate Geen T. Mathew was the junior and the new team consisted of these three people only. I called George right away and we rushed to the High Court. We searched in the list of cases to be heard in the sixth court. There was nothing of that sort in the list. We searched all lists in all the courts. There was nothing in the lists. Then we went to the main office and found that the case was in the sixth court, the notice was served to our “chief” but the “chief” and his wife never informed us about the appeal coming up. Chief’s wife used to be in touch with Advocate Nambiar almost every day. We also knew that when the case was called, their advocate claimed that the notice was served to us but the judges got suspicious that after receiving the notice nobody turned up from my side because it was the most important day for an appeal, the admission day. Thus, they postponed the case to the next Monday; the appeal came up on a Friday. Then we went back to check the listing in that sixth court on that day and realized that from the posted notice the page containing their appeal number was missing. In all probability Dushtan had removed that page from the court notice board so that even if we searched we should not come to know of it.

Even if the case file was taken away by the client the basic honesty and integrity of an advocate demanded that he would let the client know about the notice being served on the advocate. We also learnt that the “chief” never filed the caveat at the High Court. Since the defendants got the registered letters they decided to serve notice on our “chief”, even though they were not obliged to do so because there was no caveat at the court, thinking that since the case was a sensitive one and if I made complaints to the judges who would give an ex-parte judgment it would affect their appeal adversely and the ex-parte decision would naturally be reversed. The defendants or their advocate did not know at that time that I had removed the “chief” from the post of coordinator of our team.

We got together and hurriedly prepared a petition to evict the defendants from the kitchen sector right away at the admission stage of the appeal itself. I explained that in my old age I had to eat all my meals from restaurants outside and my former servants, who had become squatters in my house, were enjoying my kitchen in my own house due to a decision by the lower court. Through the judgment in the main case, all other lower court judgments were set aside, at least theoretically. We could not argue that the appeal should not be admitted because they had the natural right to make the first appeal. We filed it on Monday morning itself and put pressure on the clerks so that our petition would come up by the time the case was called. Our senior, Advocate Nambiar, argued successfully and the division bench (panel of two Justices) agreed to our request and ordered that the defendants be evicted from the kitchen sector right away and put the kitchen sector for my exclusive use. Their advocate argued for using the kitchen as a common kitchen and we did not agree because it was against my personal safety.

I had gone abroad after this stage hoping that by the time I came back the defendants would be out of my kitchen, obeying the High Court’s order. When I came back I found that they did not vacate from the kitchen sector. Immediately I sent a registered letter asking them to quit from the kitchen sector. They did not bother about my letter. Then with a copy of my letter we approached the High Court again saying that they were still there in the kitchen sector. At the High Court their advocate told an utter lie that the defendants left on the day when the first judgment was pronounced. When Advocate Nambiar pointed out that they were still there, the High Court directed the Sub Court to appoint a court Amin right away to eject them from the kitchen sector by force.

Then with the second order from the High Court we went to the Sub Court. Since the same judge, who gave the judgment was there; he immediately took steps and appointed an Amin. But on the appointed day there was nobody willing to come from the Amin’s office. They were making all types of excuses saying that the main Amin was supposed to come and he had gone somewhere and did not return. Naturally the defendants bribed the main Amin and he went out of the office. I had seen him walking out soon after the office time began. Then we had to go back to the Sub Court judge again in the same afternoon and he ordered someone else to go. The defendants’ clerk was at the Amin’s office to make sure that nobody came from there and the defendants’ advocate was waiting at my house from the morning to brainwash the Amin in case we managed to bring one to the house. Finally by 4 pm we could manage one Amin to go to my house. The process had to be finished before 5 pm, before the office time was over, otherwise the steps taken after that period would not have any legal validity as per rules!

By the time the Amin came the defendants had quit the kitchen and storeroom after removing every kitchen item that I had bought and installed there and after thrashing the whole kitchen, cupboards, counter, floor etc. The damage was over Rs 2 lakhs worth. We took photographs of destroyed cupboard, damaged wall tiles, damaged granite kitchen counter, damaged mosaic floor etc and filed a complaint in the High Court asking for compensation from the defendants for the damages. I had to spend a lot of money (over Rs 70,000/-) to put back the kitchen in a usable condition. The granite counter tops and damaged wall tiles were not removed. I had postponed this work to be done after getting the defendants fully evicted from my house.

Then we took steps to make the appeal heard as early as possible. I found that it had gone into the psyche of advocates, judges, court clerks and every body in Kerala that a civil case should take twenty or thirty years at least. When we approached the office the officers would say that it was a case of 2003 and if they listed for hearing no judge would hear it and they would lose their jobs for listing a 2003 case for hearing in 2003 itself. Finally we managed to get it listed for hearing. It was heard in the beginning of August 2003 and the Justices asked the court clerk to list it for 19th for argument and final disposal. Everybody understood that it was listed for 19th August 2003 for final argument. When we went to the court on 19th August 2003 we found to our dismay that the court clerk had written as 19-9-2003, meaning 19th September 2003 by that time the panel of Justices would change. I had a feeling that the clerk was bribed to write it as 19-9-2003 instead of 19-8-2003, or it could be an honest mistake on the part of the clerk.

By 19th September 2003 a new panel of Justices came, the case moved from that court to another court. In the new court the main Justice happened to be a close relative or close family friend of the defendants’ advocate Nathuram. Hence we lost interest in speeding up the hearing of the appeal. The appeal remained in the weekly list from September 2003 until April 2004. Once in a while it was called but either our senior advocate was “sick” or had “other engagement” on that day and hence postponed. Then on April 7th 2004 the summer vacation started for the High Court. The court was to be reopened only in May 2004. Meanwhile several judges also retired.

I had expected that the panel of Justices would change at least after the annual vacation. Usually there used to be a reshuffle during the annual vacation. There were three chances for change before the vacation also but the bench did not change. After the big vacation also we found the same bench continuing there even though almost all other courts were rearranged except this court of first appeal in civil matters. My advocates stated that the Chief Justice alone did the reshuffling and nobody else had any input. To me it was logically impossible because the Chief Justice was from outside the State and he was new in the post also. I had requested the senior in our team to request the court clerks and others involved in the process to ask for a change in that appeal court but he claimed that the clerks and others had no say in the matter. Later I learnt from other sources that many people, including the clerks, had inputs and the defendants’ crooked team was making use of that process and that my team did not want to interfere in such matters because it was below their dignity to do so. There were three other ways of changing from one bench to another. The first and the most frequently used one was to put what is known as an obstacle engagement (Odakku vakalathu). You ask one of the juniors of the Justices to be the part of our team of advocates. This requires a heavy amount in the name of fees. If such a junior agrees and when the Justices notice that one of their juniors was an interested party then that Justice would not hear the case normally. I talked to two juniors and both declined. One also stated that this senior Justice would hear the case even if a junior was involved either with the petitioners or with the respondents. Hence this strategy did not work. The second process is to make a request in same court itself for a change citing some reasons. We had no presentable reason for a change because we could not give the impression that we did not trust one Justice. The third was to make an appeal to the Chief Justice for a change. As mentioned earlier, such a step would usually backfire on the petitioner. Thus the status quo continued.

 

 

Defendants’ strategy of attrition

 

The defendants’ crooked advocate Nathuram (not the real name) must have advised them to waste water and electricity deliberately and run up huge bills, which I would be legally responsible to pay because the utility connections were in my name. First the water bill came to around Rs 3,000/-. I paid it noticing that the city water authority did not send me the bills for a long time. Then one day when I came home in an afternoon, which was not my usual time of arrival at home, I saw Kundi watering the mature coconut trees in the lot that I had given to them for making their own house and move out. The ground water level there was not deeper than ten feet and the mature trees had plenty of ground water. Kundi was deliberately wasting water and she must have wasted at least 1,000 gallons of water on that day because she had almost completed watering the trees. I asked her to stop taking water from my pipes. I sent them a registered letter asking them not to use water from my pipes to water the trees in the next compound and if they needed water then they could dig a well and there was plenty of water in that compound within ten feet depth. They ignored my letter and continued taking water from my pipes nearby the compound wall and kept an open hose running water into the lot that I had given to them. At this stage I called a plumber and dug up under the pipes and cut the water supply to the pipes underground. The next time when they tried to run water into their lot they found that there was no water supply in the pipes. Then they decided to dig a well in that compound. After that they could only waste water from the pipes in the two bathrooms under their control.

The electricity bill used to be around Rs 91/- per bill for a long time. The bills came once in two months. Then the tariff went up and the bill became around Rs 300/- per bill. I used to pay the electricity bills regularly even though more that 90% of the electricity consumption was due to the defendants’ use. There was only one meter because mine was a single family home. Then the January 2004 bill went up to around Rs 1,500/- all of a sudden. I realized that the defendants had either installed water heater or an air cooler in one of the rooms under their control, without my knowledge, or deliberately running some electrical items continuously in order to waste electricity. I also noted that they were drying their clothes by running the fans in the rooms continuously. I sent them a registered notice asking them to pay Rs 1,000/- from that bill. They kept quiet. I paid the bill in full. Then the March 2004 bill went up to around Rs 2,500/-. We filed a case in the Court asking the defendants to pay (4/5)th of the total bill because they were 4 people using and I was alone using and my watchmen used to sit on the verandah and they were not using any electricity except the front lights, which were on continuously every night ever since the house was built. They did not pay the bill and the Courts did not do anything on the matter because such matters were to be heard and decided at the time of final hearing. I paid the bill in full. Then I went abroad on 11 th April 2004 and came back on 30th May 2004. The May bill was waiting for me and it was around Rs 3,700/-. This was solely due to the defendants’ consumption because during this consumption period I was abroad since the bill was for April and May 2004. The defendants were deliberately misusing and wasting electricity so that I would be put into financial burden of paying the bills. Thus their policy was one of attrition. Nobody with any type of conscience would have wasted electricity like that. It was a national waste also when Kerala was buying electricity and subsidizing to distribute to the citizens, and besides that, there used to be power cut at least for half an hour every night due to power shortage. We filed another case in the Court asking the defendants to pay the full bill this time. The defendants and their advocate knew that our petitions in the Courts had no effect and I would end up wasting my money like that paying the electricity bills.

This time I asked the electricity board to disconnect my line as per the rules for non-payment of bills. They gave 10 more grace-days after the due date and disconnected the line. The defendants’ and their advocate Nathuram’s calculation went wrong. They never expected me to disconnect the electricity connection because I was also staying in the house. I had bought a large number of buckets for me, for my driver and watchmen and collected and stored water for 4 to 5 days, bought kerosene lamps for me and my driver and watchmen. Thus I was prepared to go without electricity for any number of days and without water supply for 4 to 5 days. Water was not disconnected and water would flow into the in-ground tank and hence we could take water from the tank. Thus, we could go without electricity at least until the end of the rainy season. I could eat all my food from outside and there was no need for a fan because it was the raining season and cooler. But the defendants were doing heavy cooking, had food stored in the fridges, had no water stored because they did not expect disconnection of electricity. They knew from my petition in the Court, because they were to be served a copy as per rule, that I was saying that I would permit the electricity board to disconnect my line. But they did not believe it. They thought that I would ask the courts to take up the matter as an emergency situation. In that case, since Nathuram’s relative or close family friend being the senior Justice in that Division Bench, Nathuram could get an order asking me to reinstate the electricity connection and continue paying the bills until after the case was over. Now, since the electricity board disconnected the line they were in a dilemma. If they went to the court then we could argue that if the owner of the house, who is also staying there in the house, could go without electricity then the servants could also go without electricity. If any judge made a judgment against this basic principle then we could successfully challenge it by appealing to the Honorable Chief Justice. Nathuram must have advised them to pay the bill in full and they paid the bill in full and electricity connection was re-established.

Their next strategy was to file a case in the court asking to install a separate electricity meter for them in my house. We filed the fuse diagram of the house to show that the wiring was for a single family dwelling, the whole wiring had to be redone to install another meter and we questioned the basic principle of catering to the whims and fancies of trespassers in my house. When the matter did not come for trial in the normal course they filed other petitions and urgent memos. Meanwhile the next electricity bill came. During this bill period Paanchaali had gone with someone to somewhere for nearly two and a half months and she came back one night at 10 pm in the company of two young men in a modern car. Since she was away, the bill naturally came down from over three thousand to below two thousand rupees. They realized that I would use Paanchaali’s escapades and the fact that the bill was coming down to normal levels. Then after a few weeks the Justice, who was a relative or close family friend of Nathuram, got sick and went on sick leave. Hence they

 

 

My third mistake

 

Earlier I had listed my two main mistakes. The first was allowing the children of my servants to call me “uncle”, accepting their claimed relationship to my eldest uncle’s wife without verifying the claim, then introducing them to neighbors and friends as “my own people”. The second mistake was in trusting the servants and their children without an iota of doubt. My third mistake was allowing the defendants to know about the details of my travel documents. Since I considered home as the safest place, I did not have a bank locker, or safety deposit box to keep my travel documents and other personal papers. I had kept my passport, air ticket, bankbooks etc in my almirah in my dressing room in my house. Since I considered the defendants as my own family members they had seen that I had a Canadian passport. Dushtan was very curious about knowing the details of travel, the types of documents required, visa requirements, the types of visa that I required to travel, validity period of an Indian vista etc. I had given answers to all his queries. Later they had used all these details against me for fighting against my eviction suit as well as for harassing me. They claimed that I was a Canadian citizen, not an Indian citizen and therefore not eligible to hold immovable properties in India. Hence my properties automatically went to them because they claimed that they also invested money in acquiring the land and constructing my house, of course, without any documentary evidence. They filed cases in the courts, with local administration, with electoral authorities etc, requesting to cancel my Indian identity papers. They could do all these harassment only because I had given them all these details in replies to their inquiries when I had 100% trust in them. Let this be a lesson to all the readers. Never give out the details about your travel, travel documents, visa requirements etc to anyone including your own close associates or even family members because one day they might use that information against you. Never give out the details about your banking and money transactions, your holdings, assets etc to anyone. Do not keep your valuable documents at home. Rent a bank locker or safety deposit box and keep all your documents in the locker or safety deposit box and do not reveal the contents of your safety deposit box to anyone. Never give out the details to anyone about your health situation, medication that you take and the details of any physical ailments or about your depression or headache, mental problems, if any, etc because others are most likely to use the information against you, for sure.

 

 

The state of affairs after five years at the courts in Kerala

 

As mentioned earlier, I filed the eviction suit O.S.No.103/2000 to evict the squatters from my house in February 2000. I filed a money suit O.S.No.1276/2000 to recover the emergency loan to the squatters. I filed O.S.No.469/2000 to recover the damages when they broke into my house, took away my car, destroyed its engine and caused heavy damage to it, changed locks in my house including the front door lock etc. I filed a criminal case Crl M.P. 2806/2000 when they broke into my locked almirah and stole almost all papers connected with my house along with other items. By July 2005, that is after nearly five and a half years through the courts in Kerala, the situation was the following: On my eviction suit there was a fair judgment on 8th January 2003 saying that the squatters were trespassers in my house and had no rights of any sort and they must vacate. They filed an appeal in the high court and the appeal was still sitting there. In the money suit there was a judgment asking the squatters to pay me the capital plus interest plus my court costs. They made an appeal in the District Court; they lost the appeal; they made an appeal in the High Court and the appeal was sitting there. On the compensation suit there was a fully biased judgment allowing me only the telephone misuse part and hence I made an appeal to the District Court praying to allow the remaining parts of the compensation. The District court dismissed my petition and disallowed even the telephone bills. The criminal suit was referred away by the local police, and then I reinstated it as Crl M.P.No.8609/2000. This resulted in the CC1702/2001 finding that there was prima facie evidence to prosecute Kudilan and Dushtan but eventually the court let them free stating that there was not sufficient evidence to prosecute them.

There was a judgment by the Honorable Judge Kesavan in an I.A. asking me to open up my house for the squatters. I made an appeal to the District Court; the appeal was lost; I made an appeal in the High Court; the appeal was lost. Then I had to open up the living room and hand over the keys of two doors leading to the living room to the squatters. Until that time the squatters were confined to the backside of the ground floor of the house and their entry and exit were through the back door at the work area of the house. There was not too much disturbance for me in those days except harassment of destroying things in the courtyard.

Now they walk through my living room. It is an age-old custom in Kerala that when a person enters someone’s house or your own house the person removes his shoes and all foot wear especially when the floor is paved with marble or tiles or mosaic. I have marble in my living room. The squatters, all four of them, walk through my living room with their dirty shoes and chappals. If I have a visitor I cannot entertain him in the living room. Kundi and Paanchaali, the women, would enter the living room and stand there to hear what we would be talking. The court had only allowed them passage but they enter the living room and stay. If I ask them to leave the living room they shower abuses in the filthiest language. I cannot have any of my female relatives visiting me even for a few minutes. They file petitions with the police saying that immoral activities are going on. Police come and harass the visitors. If my visitor comes in his own car then when he returns Dushtan follows him in his car until the visitor reaches his home and also making the visitor know that the visitor was being followed. When I went abroad for a few weeks I had asked my nephew and my bother to come and check the house once in a while and I had given them the keys. When my nephew came with his wife and child the squatters made a police petition claiming that some strangers entered “their” house and the strangers were not leaving the house. The police came and asked my nephew to go to the local police station. My brother came with his daughter fearing that if he came alone then the women Kundi and Paanchaali would definitely make a petition to the police saying that my brother came and molested them. He left within a few minutes before the police had a chance to come and question him.

As I mentioned earlier, I had disconnected my telephone line in my house due to deliberate misuse by the squatters. Then I took a mobile phone. They got my number from the police station and started crank calls to waste the phone time. Crank calls came at all hours of day and night. Then at the expense of more than Rs 1,000/- I changed my mobile phone number. They got the new number again from the local police and started tapping the line by installing a duplicate mobile phone with the same number. Now, for making all the important calls I have to go to public telephone booths. They used to cut the coconuts from my coconut trees and pick mangos from my mango trees in the courtyard. After several complaints to the police that activity was stopped. But all the fallen coconuts were immediately stolen. They had stolen every small item in the living room and TV hall where they could enter. Once my day watchman cut a branch of my mango tree and put the machete (vakkathi) for a second on the verandah. Kundi came and took the vakkathi and gave it to Paanchaali and she ran into their quarters with it. Apart from my watchman, there was a shopkeeper neighbor also present and both were eye-witnesses to the event. I made a complaint to the police but no action came and vakkathi was not recovered. Each time I go out of my house I have to remove all the important papers from my TV room table, otherwise they would take and destroy by the time I came back. All my good wooden chairs are locked up in the bedrooms, where they have no access, and I use baton and old plastic chairs for sitting in my living and TV rooms. If I have a good chair there and if I forget to remove before I go out of the house then it would be stolen by them. They steal even brooms, buckets, wastepaper baskets and everything that they could get hold of.

They started wasting water and ran heavy water bill. I had to cut most of the taps in the courtyard to avoid them from taking water to run it into the next lot which I had given them for making their own house and move out. They kept some electrical item running for 24 hours every day and ran up heavy electricity bills. The usual bill of around Rs 300/- went to Rs 1,500/-. I paid because I needed electricity. Then the bill went to Rs 2,500/-. I paid. Then the next bill was for Rs 3,627/-. I stopped paying and the electricity was disconnected. They had to pay that bill in order to restore electricity. Now they do not switch on the common lights. When I switch on they switch off even though they have no right to handle the switches and other electrical items in my house and the courts had not given them permission to do so either. When they were evicted from the kitchen sector through the courts, they took away everything in my fully equipped kitchen and caused heavy damage to the walls, floors, granite counter etc to the tune of Rs 2 lakhs.

They put their TV at the maximum volume when I am at home. In the beginning I told them to reduce the volume. The result was abusive filthy language at me, staying inside my own house. Then I learnt to tolerate and now the TV volume is back to normal. After they paid the electricity bill, the 24-hour TV had gone down to about 12 hours of TV per day.

As a reader of this narration of facts, what will you do if your former servants did all these in your own house with the blessing of the courts and you are unable to get any effective help from the local police or from the courts? This is the net result of the court procedures, or rather delays and inactions, in Kerala. From my experience in Kerala, my advise to the readers is that if you have any problem of the type that I had, never go to courts in Kerala if there is any way to avoid it. You will be wasting your life, your peace of mind, your health, and your life savings as court fees, clerks’ expenses, court clerks’ presents to do their normal duties in time, typing and making hundreds of copies, and the worst of all, as fees for advocates, a vast majority of them are crooked or inefficient and out to make money on your miseries. The reader should pray to God to save you and protect you from having anything to do with advocates, courts and police below the rank of Assistant Commissioner in Kerala. In the next chapter I will describe my experience with various advocates in Ernakulam, Kerala, India. I should mention here that I had bitter experience with a number of advocates and with two to three judges.

 

 

Final hearing of the appeal in the eviction suit by the Hon High Court

 

Finally the bench changed and a new panel of Justices came for hearing civil matters and we managed to bring the appeal A.S.No.208/2003 to the weekly hearing list there. Then my senior advocate had to go and sit there the whole day on several days so that the Justices would ask him why he was sitting there. Then he would say that he had a case in the weekly hearing list and he wanted to bring that up in the list so that it had a chance of being heard. Hearing list was the 500 series list and usually the time would be over before reaching the 500 series or reaching only up to 501 or 502. The High Court sits only from 10.15 am until about 4.30 pm with 45 minutes of lunch break. Finally our case was taken up. Their advocate Nathuram had the first chance because it was their appeal. He made excuses for postponement claiming that his closest relative was in the hospital, in the intensive care unit. This is his usual trick. If a delay is allowed for one month and when a particular day is set then he would say that on that particular day very special engagements are there and the case could be listed after 4 or 5 days. This is his standard trick. One postponement of a few days was allowed and then my advocate insisted that the case be heard. The hearing started finally. Nathuram started with FERA (Foreign Exchange Regulations Act of 1973) violation alleging that I bought the land in 1981 without getting permission from the Reserve Bank of India and alleging that I was a foreigner at that time and admittedly a Canadian citizen. His claim was that as a result, my purchase of the land was null and void. He went on for about 45 minutes on that day, and on the next day also he spent the full time on it. On the third occasion, after a couple of days, he started repeating the same FERA violation. Then the Justices wanted to hear my advocate and finish that sector of FERA violation. On the next occasion my advocate said that he would start only after Nathuram finished because he could not do the argument peace-meal. On that day also Nathuram had to talk. He started with the other matters. There was nothing to defend because the trial court’s judgment was clear and the Justices commented jokingly also that Nathuram’s performance in the first 3 days was excellent but his arguments on other aspects did not make much sense. On the first day of my advocate’s argument he tried to negate what Nathuram had stated by quoting various Supreme Court’s and High Courts’ decisions. On the second occasion he decided to change the tactics and decided to go on the offensive and argued that the question of FERA violation did not come into the picture at all and the squatters had no right to question my title to the properties and all the defendants’ claims were already proved to be falsehoods by documentary evidence alone. He had gone prepared to give the details of the documents but from the mood of the Justices it was clear that such a detailed analysis of the documents was not necessary. Then Nathuram in his usual style stated a lie in the court that we did not make denial of certain things and hence we admitted those. This is one of his usual tricks. Usually the opposite side would not remember and would not be able to counteract that statement right away and the judges would get a wrong picture. But luckily my advocate remembered that portion and immediately read the relevant portion and stated that Nathuram was telling a lie. When he was caught telling falsehood in the court he started fumbling and stated that he had no more to add and the hearing was over. The Justices said that the judgment was reserved. Thus, with 3 occasions of a total of 3 hours of Nathuram’s argument and in two occasions of a total of about one and a half hours of our argument the whole hearing was over on the 16th of August 2005 at about 3.30 pm. Everyone expected the hearing to take 10 to 12 hours and several days. The bench stated that the judgment would be pronounced later. A beautiful judgment was announced on 6th September 2005 dismissing their appeal with costs, the details of which will be given later.

 

 

Another hearing at the office of the Chief Electoral Officer of Kerala

 

As mentioned earlier, as part of harassment tactics the defendants had filed 36 cases against me from February 2000 to August 2005 period in various forums. On my electoral identity card alone they had filed several representations to the village office, I do not know how many but at least on three occasions I was called to the village office, two petitions to the Tahsildar, one petition to the District Collector, three petitions in the Hon High Court of Kerala, one petition to the Chief Electoral Officer at Trivandrum and another petition to the Chief Electoral Officer at New Delhi. As described earlier, I had to appear three times before the local village officer, twice before the Tahsildar, and defended myself. My advocates had appeared before the High Court on all the three occasions. The last case in the High Court was their writ petition seeking for a direction to the Chief Electoral Officer at Trivandrum to dispose of their petition in a time-bound manner. They filed this writ petition without informing me and without making me a party. Their petitions were for canceling my identity cards! The Hon High Court asked them to implead me, in other words make me also a party to the hearing. I came to know about this petition of theirs when I received a copy from the High Court asking me to send my advocates to represent me. The writ petition was disposed off giving a direction to the Chief Electoral Officer to dispose of their petition within two months.

As a result, I received a registered letter from the Chief Electoral Officer, Trivandrum, on 1st September 2005 to appear at the Officer’s office at Trivandrum at 10.30 am on 3rd September 2005. Trivandrum is about five to six hours away by any means of public transportation from Ernakulam where I reside. This meant that I had to start my trip on 2nd September 2005 in order to be there by 10.30 am on the 3rd because I had no driver at that time and I had to depend on public transportation. Then on 1st September 2005 a messenger from the local village office came to my house asking me to go to the village office and present myself because the defendants had a petition there saying that I was not residing in my house and that I was always in Canada and not in India. I went to the village office and identified myself. Then the village office wanted proof for my ownership of the house and properties within an hour because they had to report this matter within another two hours to the Tahsildar as per the order from the Tahsildar. I rushed home and collected the available photocopies and originals of tax receipts, utility payment receipts etc and rushed back. Since I did not have extra copies I had to search for a photocopying place on the other side of the railway track, made copies and filed the required number of copies and returned home. Then by 4 pm a messenger from the village office came again asking me to go to the village office right away. I went. This time they wanted me to sign and receive a copy of the order from Trivandrum. It was faxed to the District Collector’s office and they sent by messenger and the signed copy saying that I received must reach the District Collector’s office before 5 pm on that day. Luckily on that particular day I was at home, otherwise the messenger would have reported that I was not in India and thus confirming the defendants’ version. Thus, by the evening of 1st September 2005 I received three copies of the order from Trivandrum. On the 2nd September 2005 early morning I took buses and reached Trivandrum and checked into a hotel. On the 3rd morning I went to the legislative complex by 9.45 am. The place was blocked off because the Prime Minister of India had a programme there by 9.00 am on that day and he had not left the venue. By 10.15 am I got entry and reached on time to the Chief Electoral Officer’s office.

The Chief Electoral Officer could not reach the venue on time due to road-blocks as a result of the Prime Minister’s visit. By 11.15 am the hearing started. The officer was a lady and she had asked the representatives of the District Collector, Tahsildar etc to be present. There were five or six such representatives besides Dushtan, his advocate Nathuram and myself and a clerk to take down the notes of the proceedings. When Dushtan’s advocate introduced himself as Dushtan’s representative the officer asked me whether I had any advocate to represent me. I said that I did not have any.

The proceedings started with a sour note for Dushtan’s advisor advocate Nathuram. They had filed the complaint in 2002 and then sent a reminder in 2005. When that lady officer took charge she saw the reminder. She started looking into that matter immediately. But within two weeks she received an order from the High Court to appear before the Court and within another two weeks she got a direction from the Court to dispose off the case within two months. Such speed is unheard of with regard to Kerala Government files. She started with an accusing finger at Nathuram about his tactics. Then she started questioning about the sections under which Nathuram filed the original petition, other appeal petitions etc. She did not want to hear the case at all and wanted to shift the responsibility to somebody else. This is the usual tactic adopted by government officials in Kerala. She was claiming that the District Collector was the right authority but the District Collector had already shifted the file to her saying that she was the authority. Finally she said that since we had come there she was prepared to hear the petition if both the parties asked her to hear it. Nathuram said that he wanted her to hear it. Then she asked me. I said that on this account alone I had wasted a lot of my time, energy and money and hence I wanted her to hear it and finish it once for all.

Then she asked who wanted to start. I said that since it was their petition Nathuram should start. She told him to give evidence on merit. He started with his bogus claim of investing money in constructing my house etc. She asked him whether he had any document to prove his statement. He did not have any. She rejected his argument. Then Nathuram started with the alleged FERA (Foreign Exchange Regulations Act of 1973) violation. She said that it was not relevant to the petition and dismissed it. One by one she rejected his arguments. Then finally citizenship was the only matter for final consideration. When Nathuram stopped she asked me to start. By that time it was already 1.45 pm, passed their lunch-time. I said that it was already too late for her lunch and if she did not mind then I would give the answers and make it short. She agreed.

On 1st September 2005 itself I had assembled documents and in the evening I had typed up answers to their petitions and made copies of several Supreme Court judgments to substantiate my statements. On 2nd September 2005, after reaching Trivandrum, I had made those in the form of two copies of a book and bound with soft cover. I handed over one copy to her and kept the other copy with me. I said that whatever was stated in the first paragraph of their petition was falsehood and I had 10 documents to prove. She went through the documents. Then I said that whatever was stated in their second paragraph was falsehood. I had three documents to prove. She checked and agreed. Then I said that their third paragraph was a falsehood. I had three documents to prove it. Then I said that they only made falsehoods and false statements in various courts and I had a list of 23 items of falsehood with references to supporting documents to prove my point. She said that she would go through it later. Then on the main point of citizenship I said that I did not give up or renounced my Indian citizenship and that my Indian citizenship was not lost by taking a Canadian passport. I had filed a copy of the cover page of a Canadian passport stating the fact that the holder of that passport might have other nationalities by birth, descent, marriage or naturalization and copies of five Supreme Court judgments in the bound volume to substantiate my stand. Then I had another two volumes of bound book of my petition to the Chief Electoral Officer at Trivandrum. In my petition I stated that the defendants were trespassers in my house and the trial court stated so also. I did not want them to use my address for any of their documents. Hence my prayer was to cancel their electoral identity cards from my house and remove them from the Ernakulam electoral rolls. My second prayer was that on this account alone my cash loss was over Rs 28,000/-, besides my time, energy, mental agony, deterioration of my health etc and that the Chief Electoral Officer should collect the amount and compensation for my mental agony etc from the defendants and give it to me. She said that she would consider my petition but on the cancellation of their identity cards from my address she said that their appeal was still there in the High Court and theoretically the trial court’s judgment was suspended for the time being.

Then on 6th September 2005 the judgment came from the Hon High Court, rejecting their appeal against the sub court’s judgment asking the defendants to vacate from my house. I sent that information to the Chief Electoral Officer at Trivandrum and praying again to consider my petition for canceling their identity cards with my house address and for reimbursing my expenses. Nothing happened so far. In early October 2005 a decision came from the Chief Electoral Officer at Trivandrum dismissing Dushtan’s petition.

 

 

Attempt to encroach into other parts of the building

 

Before the judgment came from the Hon High Court of Kerala, I had noticed that the Kudilan family had clandestinely changed the locks of three out of four rooms in the servants’ quarters. They had a feeling that the judgment would go against them and then they wanted to occupy the servants’ quarters because my prayer in my suits was to evict them from the three rooms and work area plus the attached bathrooms that they were allowed to use. Since my first Advocate Homer had made the plaint with all sorts of loopholes we had to amend the plaint and we had to withdraw the prayer of permanent injunction etc because they were time-barred and there was problem with court fees. Hence Advocate Nathuram must have advised Kudilan family to encroach into other parts of the house without my knowledge and then I would naturally be compelled to approach the police or courts. Then it will be on official record that they were occupying those rooms as well. I kept what I had noticed confidential. Soon after the judgment was pronounced I called my relatives one day and changed all the locks on all the doors in the servants’ quarters. Then police came to help Dushtan and the police, without any authority of any sorts, asked me to open up the servants’ quarters and give the keys to Dushtan. In the presence of police officers, one of them claimed to be a Sub Inspector of Police, kicked at the doors of the servants’ quarters to break the doors down and then hit one door with a stone. The police kept quiet. When my relatives decided to tackle Dushtan the police called back Dushtan and they all left. Since the police was seen to be hand-in-gloves with the Kudilan family I had no other choice other than to approach the Hon High Court to ask for “police protection” so that the harassment of me by police joining with Kudilan family would stop.

 

 

Police protection from the Hon High Court for a second time.

 

Earlier I had discussed the details of the defendants obtaining a “police protection” against me and the husband of Paanchaali from the Hon High Court, ex-parte, in April 2000. Then I had also approached with a police protection request and both the petitions were heard together and dismissed with the general comments that police should see that no law and order situation was present in my house. This time, the Hon High Court gave me a proper police protection. Strangely enough, it was the same judge of 2000 who gave me police protection in 2005 again. Dushtan had played a trick at the court. Nathuram withdraw his vakalath (being the counsel for the Kudilan family) and put the vakalath of an advocate who was the son of a retired Supreme Court Justice as well as a close family friend or relative of the presiding Justice of the Division Bench at the Hon High Court. My advocates noticed the sudden change of vakalath and suggested that I take the presiding judge’s son-in-law, who was also practicing in the same court, as my new counsel. I did not want to play the same dirty tricks Dushtan and Nathuram were playing. I kept my advocates and prayed to God that the presiding Justice would not be influenced by seeing his close friend’s or relative’s son representing the Kudilan family. The Division Bench was not influenced and I got a good judgment giving me police protection as prayed for.

The usual strategy of the police to defeat such “police protection” orders, against the party that they are interested in, is to depute one jeep load of police so that the police jeep would be at the house 24 hours and then every month the police would send a huge bill. Thus, not only the purpose is defeated but also at the same time the fellow is ruined financially. We had foreseen such an eventuality and hence made this aspect also clear in our petition to the Hon High Court. The police deputed one police woman and a policeman to be with me 24 hours a day until the court withdrew or I requested them to withdraw. On the first day itself I asked the police to come only when I called for and it was not necessary for the police to be with me 24 hours a day. Even though the court order was clear to protect me and my property and to enforce the last court order the police claimed that it was not their duty when I tried to stop the Kudilan family from entering my living room and when Kudilan family, especially the women, physically blocked me from closing the door from the work area to the living room. I went to all police higher-ups in the city with no fruitful outcome. Apparently Dushtan and Nathuram had used their influence with the politicians or police officers at Trivandrum or similar authorities to put pressure on the local police officials and the local police officials did not bother to give me protection for my property. Since I had to go abroad in October 2005 I decided to take action after I returned from abroad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER FIVE

MY EXPERIENCE WITH ADVOCATES

 

 

My first advocate

 

DURING MY UPBRINGING in the countryside in Kerala, India, I had seen many things connected with police activities and heard many things about courts, advocates’ behavior etc. These were all of the negative type. Hence I prayed that in my lifetime I should not have anything to do with police, advocates and courts. In my heart of heart I hated to have anything to do with police and courts. My prayers were heard until I built my house at Edappally, Ernakulam, Kerala, India. Then unavoidable circumstances compelled me to deal with police, advocates and courts. Each advocate that I had to deal with had his own idiosyncrasies that I had to put up with. After I secured my Ph. D my world had been the scientific world and the people that I dealt with were almost exclusively scientists, students and academic administrators. Some peculiar behavioral patterns were there among some lower and middle level scientists but nothing of the types that I had seen among my advocates, which very often interfered directly with the profession itself. Scientists are generally blamed as absent-minded and strange, not fitting into the general pattern of behavior of the common man and not fitting into the main stream of human activity. There is a saying that the decadence in a society is directly proportional to the number of lawyers in that society. This is really true as far as Kerala is concerned.

The first advocate that I engaged was for filing the eviction suit O.S.No.103/2000 in the Sub Court at Ernakulam. I never had any experience in dealing with advocates to file a case on my behalf and I had never filed any suit in any court of law until the year 2000, until I was 65 years old. My only connections to advocates until that time were the following: I had a classmate at St Thomas College Palai, who later became an advocate at Ernakulam. This classmate of mine was supposed to be a very trusted friend of mine. His family lived not far from my house. When this fellow was in his teens, his father committed suicide by hanging himself. They were rich people and the suicide had nothing to do with financial matters, the usual cause for suicides in Kerala among mature men, but it had something to do with family problems. We were all very sympathetic to my classmate that such a tragedy had happened to my friend. My classmate friend was always asking me about my progress of study in various topics such as “what did you study yesterday?” I would give a faithful answer.

Then during the annual celebrations in our graduating class the students decided to have a tea party together. We decided to have a small committee of four or five people. I was made the organizer of the function and this classmate of mine the treasurer, or the fellow in charge of funds, and others in the committee with other jobs. I had collected the necessary funds from every student in the class and entrusted the fund with this fellow. The committee decided the items for the party. We decided to rent table clothes and plates for serving sweets, rent cups and saucers etc which would be cheaper than giving the contract to some commercial caterers. I thought of using the money saved like that into ordering more food items for our tea party. When the party was about to start I found that the plates rented were very small and not have the size that we had entrusted the treasurer to order. I also found that some extra food items that we ordered were not there on the table. He put the blame on the supplier and the supplier claimed that the treasurer only gave money for those small plates and the smaller number of items. Finally, the total expenses overran our budget and the items served were poorer compared to what we would have got by engaging a professional caterer. I knew that this fellow pocketed some funds but I could not accuse him of stealing because there was no hard evidence and he was my trusted friend also. That was one episode. Because this episode was in the back of my mind I did not get into the same type of trap later on in my life. Later on in the 1980’s when I was looking after the Centre for Mathematical Sciences a trusted friend of mine wanted to help me by being the treasurer in running the series of symposia and conferences involving lakhs of rupees. I did not want anyone to be in charge of funds when I was running things because of the disastrous event in the college days. Later events proved that if I had entrusted the funds with my trusted friend the same would have been the fate.

Before the final examination started we were all studying hard during the study leave. I had revised almost all topics. This trusted friend of mine asked me about my progress in my revision work. Everyone in the College was hoping that I would bring a university rank to the College. I told him that I was going to revise geometry at the very end. Just a few days before the start of the examination he came and asked to borrow my geometry textbook claiming that he did not have that book. I gave him my book and told him to return at the latest by the eve of the examination or a day earlier so that I could do my revision. On that day, when he was supposed to return the textbook, he came and said that the book was stolen by someone from his set of books and he could compensate me by paying its price. I did not want to get cash from him and he also knew that I would not demand money from him. What I wanted was my book to do the revision. There was no time to borrow that book from someone else and thus I prepared for the examination without my textbook. Luckily I did very well. This was in 1957.

Then in 1964 when I came back to India, after taking my Ph. D from the University of Toronto, Canada, a friend of my father came to me and asked whether I could help his daughter with some B.Sc level mathematics for a couple of days. I agreed. She came with a geometry textbook. The book looked like my geometry book that I lent to my friend and classmate in 1957. I never used to write my name and address in the book so that the book could be sold as a secondhand book after my use but I used to make a mark at the very last page to identify my books. I took the book and looked at the last page. It was my book. I asked her from where she got that book. She said that her father bought that book from my classmate to whom I lent the book and who claimed to have been stolen from him. Thus my classmate prevented me from studying for my geometry examination and later sold my book and made money also. This fellow went for law and became a successful lawyer in Ernakulam. My experience with successive lawyers, while filing my eviction suit, was more or less of the same pattern, which I will describe one by one.

But I also came across a few good advocates. One was Advocate Kurian Vallamattom, whom I engaged when the contractor, who constructed my Edappally house, fabricated and filed four bogus cases against me to extort money from me claiming that I borrowed money from four of his friends and did not pay back. When a lawyer’s notice was received claiming that I borrowed money from 4 people, unknown to me, and did not pay back my only contact to lawyers in Ernakulam was through my onetime student, who was the public prosecutor of the CBI at that time. He suggested a retired CBI judge to send the reply notice. Then the contractor’s men filed cases in four different courts in Ernakulam. Then I knew that the retired CBI judge, that I took, was not good enough otherwise the contractor’s men would not have rushed to the courts. Then my cousin at the Cochin Export Zone suggested the name of Advocate Kurian Vallamattom. Advocate Vallamattom agreed to take up my case. I gave him all available files regarding the construction, showing that all the funds came from my NRE account with the State Bank of India at Ernakulam, Kerala, India, that I had sufficient funds in my account all the time, and during the time of the alleged borrowing I had over Rs 2 lakhs balance in my account. He told me to go and do all my academic activities as usual and he would call me only when the cases would come up for trial. After about two years the cases came up for trial. I had to go only one time each to two courts and give my testimony and subjected to be cross-examined by the opposition’s advocates. The most notorious lawyer in Ernakulam framed the cases; he was famous for fabricating cases, and the claim at that time was that he had fabricated cases against 186 persons and won all of them for this particular contractor alone and I was his 187th victim. By God’s grace the first of the four cases came before a good judge and the case was thrown out with cost against them. The second was also thrown out as a consequence of the first one. After that, they did not pursue the 3rd and 4th cases. The judgments in the first two were produced as Exhibits A9, A9 (a) in the eviction suit. Hence I was under the impression that all advocates were of the type of Advocate Vallamattom. I could not engage Advocate Vallamattom for my eviction suit because, by deliberate preplanning, Dushtan had engaged the son of Advocate Vallamattom, who was also an advocate, for the cases that he was apparently running in Ernakulam for a long time including the approach road case O.S.No.1047/1994 that I had mentioned earlier. Hence Advocate Vallamattom declined to file my eviction suit, citing conflict of interest.

My first advocate for filing the eviction case was recommended to me as the leading trial lawyer in Ernakulam. As mentioned earlier, he was selected by the foreigner husband John (not real name) of the 3rd defendant Paanchaali (not real name) to defend the divorce case against him. Since the divorce petition was mainly concentrating on putting a claim on my house and since this advocate suggested that I had to do something fast before I returned to Canada, I thought of taking the same advocate also to file my eviction suit to evict my former servants, who had become squatters in my house. I will call him advocate Homer (not the real name). Homer wanted John and me to be at his office early in the morning to prepare a defence in John’s case and to prepare a petition to evict the squatters.

Our (John’s and mine) routine used to be the following: At about 8.30 am we would reach Homer’s office. If Homer was already in the office, which was attached to his residence, we would go directly into the inner chamber of his office rooms. Homer would pick up one of the love letters of Paanchaali to John before their marriage. He would read one sentence and would make a comment that it was a crucial sentence and he could thrash the whole divorce petition with that sentence alone. Then the phone would ring. It would be either an existing client or a new prospective client. He would ask the fellow to come. Phone calls would disrupt the reading almost every minute. He would ask all the callers to come. Then the clients would walk in one by one. Homer would ask us to wait and that he would finish the other clients fast. To every client he would introduce us as the leading scientist (meaning me) and a businessman (meaning John) from Canada. This stream of clients would continue until 1 pm. Then Homer would invite both of us to join him at the most prestigious club in Ernakulam, which was nearby his residence.

Club life and club activities were unheard of among scientists. Usually scientists did not have time to go to clubs. When I was in Brazil I found that club activities were prevalent among faculty members there. It was prestigious among faculty members there to belong to exclusive clubs. There the club activities were mainly in the evenings and weekends and mostly centered around games, physical exercises, chitchat and not so much into consuming alcohol. But in any case those faculty members rarely did any research work and hence could not be counted among scientists. There were faculty clubs in the universities in the West. These were mainly for the faculty, mostly administrative side faculty members, to have lunch together and chitchat about administrative matters and not for consuming alcohol. Real scientists rarely went to such lunch meetings because they did not have time to waste. They usually ate a sandwich as lunch while doing the work they were engaged in, and sitting in their own offices.

Homer would sign us in the club as his guests and would go to the lunch place. Then he would call one of the attendees there and give a small key to him. That key would open Homer’s locker where all types of alcoholic drinks were stored. The attendee would bring the bottle that he commanded him to bring. John as well as I did not take alcoholic drinks. John was a pure vegetarian also. Homer would order a fish curry meal for me and a vegetarian lunch for John. He would introduce us to all his friends at the club. He would take several fills of alcoholic drinks and often would share his bottle with his friends at the club. He would not eat his lunch there. Then we would return by 2 pm. He would ask us to wait and would go for his lunch. Most of the days he would take a nap after lunch, until 4 pm. He would ask us to wait to continue our “preparation of the cases”. We would read the newspapers and kill time. By 4 pm he would get up, ask his wife to prepare some tea and would bring some tea for the two of us and one for himself.

After drinking tea he would continue with the love letters. Again, other clients would come and interrupt. Sometimes he had to go to the court for the trial of some case. His assistants looked after routine matters regarding all his other cases. He would go only for trials or for such important matters. Whenever he went to the courts he would ask us to wait and he would come back as scheduled. Our discussion, or reading, would continue until about 5.45 pm. Then he would get ready to go to his club for another drinking session and we would return to my house at Edappally.

After a few days, John was hesitant to come with me to Homer’s office saying that Homer was taking advantage of us. He was using us to impress upon his other clients and to collect new clients and he was not interested to help us. Since I had never engaged an advocate before to prepare and file a case on my behalf, I was not sure whether John was correct or not. I told John that since Homer was supposed to be the leading trial lawyer in Ernakulam we had to suffer a little so that our cases would be handled properly. Since none of us wanted to go to clubs we politely declined Homer’s invitation for lunch at the club after a few days. After a few weeks, several other persons whom I met, told me that Homer had two main and serious weaknesses of which one was drinking and the other I do not want to mention here because I do not have any first hand information about, and that I should watch out because Dushtan knew about these weaknesses and he was likely to exploit the situation through both of the weaknesses. They also told me that Dushtan had an associate in many shady activities, who was the brother of a big politician and who was also a close friend of Homer. For me, the only hope was to wish that Homer would not do anything against his conscience to fail me in handling my case. I put all trust in God and prayed that Homer would not become a prey to his weaknesses while my case was being handled. My prayer was not heard.

I noted two major defects in Homer. One was the greed for money. When I took him as my advocate I had given him Rs 50,000/-, which was estimated (Homer’s own estimate) to be the total amount needed for a successful final conclusion of my case. But after about six months he wanted Rs 15,000/- more, then more and more. Each time I gave, whatever he demanded, hoping that he would do a sincere job of getting the case finished fast with a favorable judgment. Since John could not withdraw any money from his bank, because his wife Paanchaali would not cosign, I had to lend him for his part of Homer’s fees also. On behalf of John alone I had given Homer nearly Rs 1 lakh from February 2000 to the end of April 2000, and by 28 th April 2000 John had escaped from Ernakulam to Canada with his children.

The second major defect that I found in Homer was that he did not like his clients asking about clarifications or expressing opinions or making any suggestion. If I made some suggestions or something like that, he would say that then I could run the case on my own and he would step aside. I still felt that many points that I suggested from a layman’s point of view were excellent ones which could have saved many difficult and defeating situations later on. This type of attitude was prevalent in many professions in India. In the scientific circle, opinions and suggestions are always welcomed. We usually look into every suggestion, however silly it may look, evaluate and then accept or dismiss, giving the reasons for dismissal.

Once I had an embarrassing situation with an allopathic medical doctor in Ernakulam. When my younger son was visiting Ernakulam he had a problem with his one knee. A small operation was needed. I took him to the most popular surgeon in Ernakulam. This surgeon claimed to have spent some time in the USA also. Before the operation, I asked him whether he had done the same type of operation before. This was a routine question that we asked the doctors in the West. In the West, the doctor would reply either in the affirmative or that he had done something similar and the experience of which would be sufficient or that it was the first time that he was going to try. In my profession, the prospective students or colleagues or prospective host could ask a question whether I had handled a course like that before and I would be answering without any hesitation and I or my colleagues in my profession would not feel bad about the question. But this doctor in Ernakulam exploded and told me that being an educated man I should be ashamed to ask such a question to him. Still, even today, I could not find any logic in his explosive outburst. I concluded that it was the first time that he was attempting such an operation, otherwise I did not find any reason for his outburst. Luckily the operation turned out to be a success.

Homer had good grasping capacity and most probably he had a photographic memory. After reading a file once, he could remember almost everything. He had not seen my house but from the rough sketch he could remember what were the items on the north side or south side of the house and so on. From the love letters of Paanchaali to John he could quote sentences, which even I could not remember after readings several times. These qualities were very good assets for an advocate. These qualities impressed me very much, and my trust in his ability for handling my eviction case increased.

In all probability Homer had succumbed to his weaknesses. There is every indication to believe the thesis that soon after I took Homer as my advocate, Dushtan had contacted him through the big politicians’ brother who was a close associate of Dushtan. The contact intensified and Homer was influenced soon after I left for Canada on 28th February 2000. When I look back at the sequence of events one cannot conclude otherwise. Reading the plaint in O.S.No.260/2000, which Homer had filed on behalf of John, and which I could see and read only in 2002, substantiated this feeling. Here the advocate went out of his way to explain the Rs 2 lakhs loan given by John to Dushtan and to present it as not a loan but for buying the jeep etc. It was known to everyone at the time of giving the loan that Dushtan wanted the loan from an NRE account to show it to some tax people. But the advocate was connecting it to the purchase of jeep and then explaining away the balance of the Rs 2 lakhs, as if the plaint was being prepared to defend Dushtan. It was crystal clear that the advocate was already influenced by that time.

All indications were there that when Homer found that I was employed abroad he decided to extract the maximum possible amount from me. He prepared the plaint itself keeping that aim in mind. Every other advocate, who looked at the plaint in the eviction case O.S.No.103/2000, was surprised why Homer made such a plaint. He was known as one of the leading trial lawyers. I said that there was no time to think over all the points and prepare one. But other advocates said that a good lawyer did not need even the time that was available to him to prepare a good plaint. There were so many unnecessary details about my marriage abroad and children being born abroad and details about them and about my life history. By telling irrelevant stories the defendants were given ample opportunities to create their own stories around each statement in the plaint. Finally, the prayers in the plaint did not ask for vacant possession. The plaint ignored the fact that each time I asked them to vacate, the defendants requested for more time and I granted them time. Thus the prayer for injunction was time barred. The worst of all was to make the defendants as my relatives and partners and letting them the use and occupation of the major portion of the ground floor of the building. All other advocates, who dealt with the plaint, felt that it was a major defect to establish a share in the house for the defendant through my own plaint, the defendants should have been called as my servants and the plaint should have been made around that truth.

Other events gave credence to the theory that Homer wanted to evict me from my own house first and then fight from outside to get hold of my house on the strength of my title alone. When he filed the first I.A., asking for an injunction order, the prayer was meaninglessly vague and as a result the injunction order was ineffective. He did not want to include the dining room, kitchen, work area and storeroom to be covered by the injunction. He did not want to take any action against the defendants for altering my ration card, which I on my own pursued to a successful end and the altered ration card was cancelled and I was issued a new ration card. He did not want to take any step for disconnecting the illegal telephone line that they installed in my house when I was away. I pursued it on my own without any legal advice and it was not successful. It appeared that Homer wanted to have an identity card for the defendants, such as the ration card, from my house and a telephone line and cable connection of their own in my house so that their position in my house would be strengthened. When Homer asked for the second court commission he did not want the defendants to be checked out from my main kitchen and sent to the kitchen in the servants’ quarters. He allowed that commission to be hijacked and he also allowed harmful third and fourth commissions to visit my Edappally house in my absence even after informing him that I would be in Ernakulam the next day or within a couple of days.

When there was already an injunction in force, Homer filed another I.A. asking to disallow the defendants from using the front door, contradicting and defeating our case, which the District Court judge used later to throw out our appeal. He did not file the contempt of court petition. I had signed the contempt of court petition that he prepared, before I left for Canada after the visit of the second commission. He was very reluctant to prepare a contempt of court petition against the defendants, to start with. After losing the I.A.’s and after receiving three petitions to break open the front door of my house, to entrust the keys of my house to the defendants and to put me in jail etc he kept quiet as if they were unimportant petitions, when the presiding judge already gave a judgment against me in the I.A’s, under influence as per his own version.

Two stories, told to me by Homer out of context, made me to think later on. One was that he told me a story that once the opposite party tried to influence him and he drove him out from his office. This story, told me out of context, had all the indication that already Dushtan had approached him and he had already yielded and that story was an attempt to take “anticipatory bail”. Another story was that when I invited him to come home and see the house and its layout so that he could defend the case better he said that if the women started calling him “uncle” etc then it would be difficult to tear them apart at the witness stand. This indicated that already the women approached him and called him “uncle”. The behavior of the women was exactly as he described, which he would not be able to describe if the women had not visited him already. Then once during an excited discussion he remarked that it would be impossible to dislodge the defendants from my house as long as they had the kitchen in their possession. In the beginning he wanted to give them the dining room as well.

Perhaps, after a series of setbacks at the hands of Homer I am seeing only faults in his every action. Perhaps he behaved naturally as he had handled all other cases of all of his other clients. Perhaps I am blaming him for all the accumulated bad events and those events happened due to my bad luck. In any case when I put all the sequence of events in the order I could not come to any other conclusion other than that he was not sincere and honest in handling any of the cases that he handled on my behalf.

 

 

Rs 4 lakhs to settle the problems

 

Dushtan, after having established contact and a good rapport with my first advocate Homer, tried to use Homer to extract Rs 4 lakhs from me and fight against me by using my own funds. One day Homer told me that he could settle my problem if I could spend Rs 4 lakhs. I had to give Rs 4 lakhs to Homer first and Homer would solve the whole problem and the defendants would automatically leave my house voluntarily. He could not give me any guarantee. Then I said that first let them be out of my house then I could give him Rs 4 lakhs. Then later Homer came with a suggestion that we, meaning I, would buy back the adjoining lot, that I had given to the defendants in 1994 for making their own house and move out from my house, and that he could get the lot back to me for Rs 4 lakhs. The market value of the plot was at least Rs 15 lakhs in the year 2000 and I knew that the defendants, who had no conscience of any sort, would not part with the plot for Rs 4 lakhs. Here also, first I had to give Homer Rs 4 lakhs and then he would manage. I said that I was not interested to buy any more land in Kerala and not interested in buying back the plot that I had given for making their own house. When they did not want to build a house on that plot, they were morally obliged to give it back to me if they had any sort of conscience. In fact John, Paanchaali’s foreigner husband, had asked them to give me back my land. Then one day my former student, who was also a friend of Homer, told me that he could settle the problem for Rs 4 lakhs. Apparently Homer tried to get Rs 4 lakhs for Dushtan through my student. I had already mentioned earlier that Dushtan had borrowed nearly Rs 2 lakhs from that former student of mine, Rs 1 lakh from his cousin through him and Rs 1 lakh from a retired college professor. My student claimed that if Dushtan got Rs 4 lakhs he could give back these 4 lakhs of borrowed money. Hence my student thought that the story might be genuine. I told my student that it was a premeditated plot and if Dushtan really wanted to return the borrowed money he could have given back long ago and that he was spending more than that amount in bribing the police alone for fabricating police cases. Then during that period the local SI, who was a student of mine in extension lectures, told me that he was trying to settle the problem through negotiations. He said that if I gave some money then the defendants would leave my house. He said that he on his own was suggesting an amount of Rs 4 lakhs. I heard this Rs 4 lakhs on three different occasions before by that time. I said that I could give Rs 1 lakh, which was my estimate of the amount needed to fight the cases through the courts to evict them. I also said that I would give that money only after they left my house and the SI was guaranteed of that money of Rs 1 lakh. Then the last time I heard of Rs 4 lakhs was in Dushtan’s testimony in the court that the defendants deserved to get Rs 4 lakhs from me for their alleged “mental suffering in my hands”. Thus he was using my advocate Homer, my student and the SI to hoodwink Rs 4 lakhs out of me and then he wanted to claim that they deserved it for their alleged mental suffering of enjoying five-star accommodation in my house free.

 

 

Looking for a second advocate: Middleman

 

After the first judgment against me, in the trial of the first I.A., I decided to look for a new advocate. This was my first case ever tried in a court of law and thus the very first judgment was against me. Since there was not enough time to obtain opinions from various people, because the time for filing an appeal was about to run out, I asked my cousin, who was running a factory at the Cochin Export Zone, to suggest the name of a good advocate for me. All the factory owners had retained the services of a lawyer who would look after the cases if any factory had any legal problem. My cousin said that this company lawyer would be able to suggest a good advocate for taking up my appeal. I met him. Let us call him Malik (not the real name). Malik was extremely pleasant and he claimed to know a lot of good advocates, who would be able to handle my case. He took me to one who had a seniority gown also, which meant that he was equivalent to judges and whenever he went to court his case would be called first. This senior agreed to take up my case. We will come to this senior in the next section.

 

I had taken Malik as my retaining lawyer or as a middleman lawyer to look after the routine matters as well as to coordinate with senior and other lawyers. At the Export Zone, each factory was paying him Rs 2,000/- per month as a retaining lawyer, as per my cousin. Hence my cousin suggested retaining Malik at the rate of Rs 1,500/- per month. I started to pay him Rs 1,500/- per month. This arrangement continued for many months until I realized that his selection of advocates for me was motivated only by the criterion of maximizing his commission rather than winning my cases. Usually the middleman lawyer got one third of the fees charged by the advocate to whom a client was introduced. I did not realize it during the period of my first senior advocate, his sons etc but I realized it later when he hired for me an advocate to file a case in the Aluva court.

 

When the defendants fabricated a forged “agreement” I decided to file a case in the criminal court at Aluva. When the defendants broke into my locked almirah and stole almost all documents relating to my house, including the original title deed to the property, the first advocate Homer had filed a criminal case for me through one of his assistants. The court sent that case file to the local police and police whitewashed it away. In police language, it was “referred away”. In other words the police claimed that there was no evidence to prosecute. I did not want this to happen again and my main purpose of talking to the middleman Malik was to avoid going through police, and for trying the case in the court itself, because we had more than sufficient documentary evidence to prove that the “agreement” was a forgery. Malik said that it was possible to send the case for trial right away without going through the police, and he would arrange the best lawyer to achieve that. He introduced me to advocate Rock (not the real name). I talked to Rock about what I wanted. He said that he could send the case for trial right away and he could get a conviction in no time. The total price quoted was Rs 15,000/- for running the case to a successful conviction. I agreed.

Advocate Rock prepared the case with the information that I supplied. The three of us, Rock, Malik and I went to Aluva court. Rock was a very talkative and very aggressive type. He also had a very impressive personality. When the lunch break was about to be started he pushed the case, the case was not even officially filed. The Honorable Judge got surprised and thought that Rock was coming from the Supreme Court in Delhi by seeing his mannerism and aggression. First he tried to act on it but then realized that the case was not even filed. Then he asked Rock to file it and he would hear it the next day. While returning from the court, Rock suggested to me to pay part of the Rs 15,000/-. I said that nothing was done yet. The next day we went and the judge, took it as a routine matter, and directed it to the local police for investigation. Rock did not say anything that we did not want it to go to the police and again get “referred away”. When he came out he said that I had to pay the full amount of Rs 15,000/-. He said that from that time onwards it was a police case and he had nothing to do with it and his part was over. But I told him that our agreement was that he would conduct it through the court and get a conviction. Then he claimed that he would have done it if the judge did not send it to the police. Then the middleman Malik also said that I had to pay the full amount. If it was only to get the case simply admitted then what I needed was only Rs 500 to spend and any junior advocate could have done it. For a simple admission of the case Rock was demanding Rs 15,000/- instead of Rs 500 that is 30 times the normal charge. I paid the Rs 15,000/- and only later I came to know that Malik’s share was Rs 5,000/- from that. With this incident I was suspicious of Malik’s integrity, sincerity and honesty. Then with the third team of advocates when the coordinator inflated the bill, charging at the rate of Rs 10,000/- to prepare an affidavit, I came to the conclusion, that his commission only motivated his selection of advocates for me. More commission meant a better choice. Then I decided to stop keeping him as my retaining lawyer and stopped the payment of monthly fees but I kept him as a friend, to send him to police and other contact people, whenever I needed to send a lawyer, and for such things he was quite efficient. He was always very pleasant, he would not annoy anyone and it was impossible to quarrel with him. I found the second and third lawyers, Malik and Rock, that I engaged, had no conscience, integrity or honesty but only greedy for money.

 

 

My first senior advocate

 

As mentioned earlier, the middleman advocate Malik took me to the senior with the “senior gown”. Malik told me that the senior was immensely rich and hence he was not greedy for money, he was retired from active practice, he took only very few cases and hence he had plenty of time to study the case files, and above all he was very efficient and otherwise he would not have got a senior gown. He agreed to take up my case. He used to go only to the High Court and not to any lower court. My appeal was expected to be in the High Court. Before giving the case files to him I had checked with the lawyer, whom I took to defend the contractor’s cases when the contractor filed false cases to extort more money from me over the agreed upon amount as per the contract. He said that the senior, let us call him Jack, was a good choice because he would have plenty of time to study my case file because he was retired and he was taking only a few cases. After hearing this, I gave the case files to Jack. Then we found that my first advocate Homer had put the valuation of my property very low purposely so that all appeals had to go through the District Court first before going to the High Court, thus creating more chances of extracting more money from me. Once when I mentioned this low valuation to the juniors of Homer the juniors’ reasoning was that it was good for me because there was one more chance at the District Court and that by low valuation I did not have to give a large court fee to file the case. The differential court fee would have been insignificant compared to the expenses for going through an intermediate court, namely the District Court.

Finally, Jack agreed to go and argue in the District Court as a special favor to me. When I went to Homer’s office to take the balance of the files the juniors there told me that I was making a big mistake. According to them, Jack was very shallow, he would not study the case file, he was not at all good in arguing a case and that he had only a one-track mind and would not see more than one point in the whole case. After hearing this I expressed my concern to the middleman Malik. I already described the sequence of events. Let me describe Jack as an advocate.

For Homer I had to be at his office starting from 8.30 am until 5.45 pm “discussing” the case. As usual I went to Jack’s office the next day at 8.30 am. He asked me why I was there that early in the morning. I told him that I was there to discuss the case file and clarify if there was any doubt. He told me that I had entrusted the case to him. It was his duty to see to it that I won the appeal. He had lot of experience in handling cases and he only needed the case files and he did not need me there and he would not have any doubts to clear. Anyone going through the files would have some doubts at some points even if it was mathematics. But case files were naturally too far away from exact sciences. Hence from a layman’s point of view it was quite logical that there would be plenty of doubts while studying the case files. Then I was worried that the juniors of Homer might be right about Jack. But I had already given the case files to Jack and there was no time to change the lawyers because the time limit for filing the appeal was about to be over.

Then while talking to my former student, who was the public prosecutor of the CBI, he also expressed the same opinion that Jack was unsuitable because he would not study the case files and was shallow. I was worried and went back to Jack saying that he might have some doubts by that time. He told me that I did not need to worry about it. There was no way that the District Court could reject our appeal and he said that there was no way for losing the appeal. At this stage I told him that the former advocate Homer told me that he would not practice law in Ernakulam if he lost my case but the case was lost and Homer was still practicing law in Ernakulam. I had already written up and given to him two pages detailing the defects, inconsistencies, false statements, wrong interpretations etc in the lower court judgment thinking that since we were going to oppose a lower court judgment we should be opposing on technical grounds, on its contents, defects, factual mistakes etc first, and then give additional points of law. He told me that he did not need those points. He said that I was the owner and I was entitled to do whatever I wanted to do with my land and house and no court had any right to interfere with it. A judgment against the owner could not stand! Even if the defendants had claimed to have spent some money for the construction of the building and for buying land, without any documentary evidence, the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act (prohibition against holding immovable assets by proxy) alone would nullify their claims and hence their claim would not stand. Thus, my ownership and Benami Transactions Prohibition Act would be sufficient to win the appeal. Later, when it was already too late, I learnt that my layman’s approach was the correct approach that a judgment had to be opposed on its factual errors and inconsistencies first and all other legal aspects were secondary in nature. Jack was exactly opposite of Homer in retaining the clients in the office. Jack did not want to see his client in his office at all. Jack had a genuine concern that my valuable time was wasted in the courtrooms in Ernakulam when I should be concentrating on my research so that my research output would be useful to the future generations and I should devote my time to research and teaching and I should leave running the cases to the advocates.

One point Jack stated, made me feel that I made a mistake in selecting Jack to file the appeal. He insisted that I should make an application to the courts to hand over the house and properties to a court-appointed liquidator (He used some legal technical term for that). Then the liquidator would hold the house and properties until the eviction suit was settled and the liquidator would hand over the property and house to the party who won. From a layman’s point of view it did not make any sense to me. First, from where the liquidator’s expenses would come? How long would he be holding the properties and house, for how many generations, looking at the usual process and delays in the courts in Kerala? The defendants were already in a portion of the building and if a liquidator was involved then the defendants would be enjoying the whole house and I would be in a rented place outside whenever I would be at Ernakulam. When Jack mentioned about the liquidator the first thing I asked him was that if we even accepted the idea of a liquidator, let alone asking for one, would it not imply that I was agreeing to the concept that my properties and house were disputed properties, that the defendants have some rights to contest and I was asking for an arbitrator to settle the dispute and hand over the properties to the right owner? He claimed that it did not imply that but I could not see the logic in his argument. Hence I did not agree to hand over my house and properties to a liquidator and leave Ernakulam.

Contrary to the claim of the middleman Malik, Jack was not asking any nominal amount, but compared to Homer it was low. He asked for a big amount, even according to Canadian standards, and that too, to be given to him in US dollars. He promised to finish the main case within one year. If he was going to finish the main case in one year and evict the defendants then I figured out that the amount that he asked was not too much. One thing I could say abut Jack was that he was genuine, sincere and honest. Hence as a person he was quite ok but the later events showed that Homer’s juniors and my former student, his cousin and all others were correct in their evaluation of Jack. Either Malik was not capable of selecting the right person, or his prospective commission only motivated his selection of advocates for me.

I had already mentioned about the performances of Jack’s two advocate sons. One was too pious to be in a law profession and the other was too greedy for money, had only a one-track mind and too fast in the courtrooms to be an effective lawyer.

 

 

The chief in my third set of lawyers

 

As mentioned earlier, due to an accident the senior advocate Jack was incapacitated. His eldest son was to become a government pleader soon and his younger son had returned to his practice at the Supreme Court in New Delhi, and thus my case was sent to a third team, who were acquaintances of the second team. The coordination job went to an advocate called Naarad (not the real name). I made three copies of all the files at a terrible cost because the case files ran over a thousand pages. I gave one copy to the senior Advocate Nambiar in our team, one copy to the coordinator Naarad and kept one copy for me.

Advocate Nambiar was a District Court judge and he was a judge all over north Kerala, India, for twenty-five years and after retirement as a judge he was a practicing advocate and he had twenty years of law practice when he came into my third team. He had long experience with civil as well as criminal law practice. In personal habits, I found him to be of my type. He used to go to bed early in the evening and used to get up early in the morning. He used to spend his spare time in the High Court library looking into various judgments in different courts regarding his cases. In other words, he was doing real research work. Thus he took a scientific approach to the law practice. I would like to see this type of advocates practicing law in Kerala. In my profession of research work, all the top-ranking researchers, in mathematics, statistics and physics that I know of, have the habit of getting up early in the morning and going to bed early in the evening. I had a Greek colleague for whom we used to arrange lectures only in the afternoons because he would be getting up only by noontime. I had an Indian colleague, born and brought up in the Himalayas region, for whom the lectures would be arranged late in the afternoons or early in the evenings because he would be getting up only in the afternoon. But none of them went beyond a middle level even though they were very hardworking researchers.

There were three lady advocates in the team. One was mostly incapacitated due to pregnancy and delivery. She was considered to be extremely efficient in checking through affidavits before submission, but did not get much spare time from her principal engagement of pregnancy and delivery. One lady advocate in the team was Naarad’s wife. She did all the typing of all the submissions and she worked hard day and night. Apart from typing, she ran around in the High Court attending to all the team’s cases there. After rushing from court to court the whole day she ran home to type the next day’s submissions. This was one lady, whose efforts were not appreciated by her husband or in-laws, and who met with only criticisms always and everywhere. But the major professional defect I noticed was that after typing the materials she was often willing to file the documents without checking. If she stopped working and if the senior stopped advising, then the whole team would crumble to pieces right away. Another lady advocate in the team had the sweetest disposition and she helped Naarad’s wife in attending to the cases in various courts in the High Court.

The major defect with the third team was that they were almost exclusively practicing in the High Court and hence they were not familiar with procedures in the lower courts. From what I had seen, the trials and arguments in the Sub Court and District Court were completely different from those in the High Court. Naarad had good command of English. He was credited to be the most efficient in preparing affidavits. He was quite meticulous to check the typed matter for its display, commas, spelling, spacing etc whenever he got time to check. He went with the care of a person who had written books. I asked him about it and found that he was in fact the author and co-author of books. But his major defects far outweighed his good qualities. He went to bed at 4 or 5 am in the morning. Until that time he would not be studying the case files but watching television programs and apparently smut from the Internet. He was compelled to get up by 8 am or 9 am due to phone calls from clients. Thus, he got only 3 to 4 hours of sleep. It is a proven scientific fact that without proper amount of sleep the brain would perform no creative activity. Late arising habit of Naarad led to lack of coordination of the team’s activities, and there was no proper assignment of work to the other members in the team. There was often not enough time to check the typed matters before filing. Materials to be filed on a particular day used to be typed up only by 10 am or 11 am on that day, and very often filed without checking.

The worst habit, which was unsuitable for anybody in any profession, was his habit of wasting time purposely on unnecessary things so that he could reach late in the court, very often after the case was called and put aside by the angry judge. There was a major psychological problem with Naarad. He would waste time in the morning on silly things such as fixing a draw of his desk or cleaning the computer or printer or fixing up his telephone or searching for some unimportant paper or criticizing or quarreling with his typist-advocate wife and he would wait by doing such things until 11 am, when he should be reaching the Sub Court by 11 am. At 11 am he used to go to the bathroom, took a shower etc and by 11.15 am started to get ready. Then his mother would insist that he should have his breakfast. He took a quick breakfast. By this time it was already 11.30 am. Then he took his car and drove at break-neck and the most dangerous speed. He claimed that he was in complete control of his car and took pride in near misses with other vehicles. Thus, he very often reached the court by 11.45 am to 12 noon. By this time the judge had called and angrily put aside the case file.

In all my teaching career of over 40 years I was never late in any of my lectures or cancelled any of my classes. If I had to drive to a place to keep an appointment I used to put one or two hours of safety time so that even if there was traffic problem on the way I could reach on time. I never tolerated students coming late into my classes. Naarad’s behavior irritated me beyond all tolerable limits. When he promised that some files would be studied on a particular day or some affidavits would be prepared on a certain day he always found one excuse or the other to postpone it to the last moment. After tolerating his abnormal behavior for a few days in the beginning, I decided to change my team and to look for a more punctual coordinator. I talked to the middleman advocate Malik. He told me that there was not enough time to look for another team, people in the present team at least knew some of the case files, a new team would never have the time to go through over 1000 pages of my case file and hence not worth looking for another team. He advised me to keep pressure on the coordinator Naarad and try to change his work habits. This was an impossible task to change the daily habits of someone but under the circumstances I had no choice other than to try to change him.

I used to go to his office-cum-house by 9 am and started to persuade him to hurry up. I volunteered to type some of their case files or at least my affidavits so that he could check fast. My proposition was a very feasible one but he did not want me to type and he wanted his wife to type. Later I realized that it was not out of any consideration for me but if I typed then he could not charge a heavy fee per page later on. After several days of persuasion I could make him reach the Sub Court by 11.30 am. I found out part of the reasons for his insistence of being late to reach the courts. He took great pride in saying that he did not go to classes in the law school. He simply went and wrote the examinations and passed. If a research student told me such a story then I would not take him as my student because he would be lacking in many important points in his background preparation. Not everything could be asked in an examination but many things were discussed and pointed out in a classroom. The student would be missing all these relevant and important subtle points and implications of various statements if he/she did not attend to the lectures. In a legal profession this aspect might be more so because various case scenarios were likely to be discussed in the classrooms. Thus taking false pride in playing truant was in the back of Naarad’s mind and still I could not see how a professional could take pride in that.

When the trial of my eviction suit finally started the trial was set at 2.30 pm everyday. But the case would be called at 11 am. I used to send a junior advocate of our team for the 11 am roll call to inform that we would be ready in the afternoon. If nobody went to the court from our side during the roll call, then the defendants’ advocate would ask for a postponement and the judge would have to oblige since there was nobody from our side. This had happened several times. Usually Naarad would go to the High Court, even if he had nothing to do there, so that he could turn up late at the Sub Court. Hence I had to have a routine of going with him to the High Court, usually by about 11.45 am even though the High Court proceedings started by 10.15 am. I would wait for him, picked him up by 1.15 pm at the latest, took him for lunch and would try to rush to the Sub Court. Even then, on most of the days we were late by 5 to 10 minutes. Luckily we had a gentleman of a judge. The judge used to ask his bench clerk to check first and after making sure that Naarad had reached he would come into the courtroom.

One good quality with Naarad was that he was willing to listen to suggestions. I could make any suggestion and he would weigh it and if it was useful from a legal point of view he would take it. I used to even write down the first draft of the affidavits. He would correct, add or delete materials and finalize it. After seeing me in the High Court every day with Naarad, many advocates had inquired with the team who I was and what I was doing in the High Court every day. Some advocates, who knew me, jokingly said that after spending so many days at the High Court, and watching the proceedings all those days, I could go to Cochin University and take a law degree in no time and I could start practicing in the High Court. As I mentioned earlier, this was one profession that I was not attracted to. The other was the police force. Both of these, as practiced currently in Kerala, are geared to protect and nurture the growth of unlawful elements and as a result creating many hardships of all types for law-abiding and peaceful citizens in Kerala. This is the only conclusion that I can draw from my experience with the police and advocates in Kerala.

Naarad’s behavior worsened by the time the trial of the eviction suit was coming to an end. He was trying his level best to delay the trial so that it would not come to an end soon. All our documents and everything was ready by the beginning of June 2002 and the honorable judge had already stated in the open court that he would like to finish the case by the first week of June and write the judgment. As I mentioned earlier, on the crucial day when I was at Trivandrum attending the annual meetings of CMS, Naarad, as coordinator, did not send anyone to the court and the case was postponed at the request of the defendants’ advocate as usual. This crucial postponement resulted in a chain action and the suit, which was to be decreed in the first week of June 2002, could be decreed only by 8th January 2003.

There was another incident also. There was a money suit. The defendants had borrowed money from me to the tune of about Rs 4 lakhs on various occasions, mainly for Dushtan’s business ventures. I did not know that there was a time bar of three years to take action to recover the loans. At least for the amounts received by them in 1999 I could take action and hence I filed a money suit to recover the Rs 30,000/- loan of 1999. The case was filed in the Munsif Court at Ernakulam as O.S.No.1276/2000. Its trial started. It was time for us to call our witness the bank manager. Naarad came to mark the documents, certified cheque and fax. The bank manager came with the originals but Naarad never asked whether the bank manager had the originals with him to show to the honorable judge. The very purpose of calling the bank manager was to mark those certified copies with the help of the originals, which were in the custody of the bank, and the bank manager came with the originals. I had given all sign language to Naarad to ask for the originals but it was of no use. The certified copies were not marked but the honorable judge gave a verdict in my favor, with cost against the defendants, on the strength of their indirect admission of receiving the amount because their argument was that if it was received then it was a gift and not a loan. The dismal performance of Naarad could be due to two reasons only. Either he purposely did not want the documents to be marked so that the case became weaker and possibly lost or he was utterly inefficient. Later I came to know that he had never handled the trial of a civil money suit before in his life and he lacked the basic common sense also.

The next incident, as the English say, which broke the camel’s back, was his insistence to include Dushtan in the suit to be filed in the High Court to quash the proceedings in a fully fabricated criminal suit against me. I had mentioned about this earlier. (I should add here that the defendants had filed 33 bogus cases against me in various forums from March 2000 to April 2002 period alone.) At this time I decided to take the ultimate step of removing Naarad as the coordinator from my third team of lawyers and I took Advocate George as the new coordinator. From then on my team consisted of Advocate Nambiar as the senior, advocate George as coordinator and advocate Geen T. Mathew as the junior. Then things started running smoothly and I did not have to go through the mental agony of worrying about whether some advocate would be present in the court when my cases would be called.

Naarad’s bills, as the coordinator were shockers. In the first bill there was a Rs 10,000/- item for the preparation of an affidavit. Immediately I had complained to the middleman advocate Malik. I told him that I was going to talk to Naarad directly about the bill. Then Malik pacified me saying that if I talked to Naarad in the beginning with the first bill itself then things would not move smoothly and that Malik would talk on my behalf and the next bills would be reasonable. But unreasonable bills continued until I removed him from the coordination job. Further, he borrowed a total of Rs 40,000/-, in small amounts on different occasions in the name of overcoming some financial emergencies. This is in addition to all his regular high bills, which I paid, and the borrowed amount was never returned. On one occasion he had given a cheque for Rs 20,000/- to be cashed by me as soon as he got some money, which was supposed to be due to him from some other clients. He never had sufficient amount in his bank account at any time for me to cash this cheque of Rs 20,000/-. I could have sent it for cashing and when it bounced back then I could have filed a case in the courts to recover the amount. But, from all angles, since it was an unwise move I kept the cheque as a souvenir and proof of dishonesty.

 

 

Advocate Nathuram

 

Among all the advocates that I came across in connection with my eviction case, the defendants’ advocate Nathuram (not the real name) was the most efficient and effective advocate that I had seen. His English was excellent. Some judges used to fall for good English. He was very handsome. Some judges used to fall for that also. His ambition in life was to become an advocate because his father was an excellent advocate. In my college days, very good students used to take Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. The next best students used to take Botany and Zoology. The poorest set of students used to take Economics and Politics. There used to be only these three groups in those days. Then after completing B.A. degree, the students who could not get into any college for regular subjects in their own areas used to go to Law School. Students from the science streams, who got third classes in their examinations and who could not get admission for higher studies also used to go to Law School. Thus, the poorest lot of students with least grasping capacity used to go for Law. But there were exceptions. Those were the students who wanted the Law as a profession from the childhood and went to Law School. Nathuram was of this second type. He was very smart in his studies. Also, he was the child actor in the first 3D Malayalam movie and he had won some prizes also for best acting. Thus, in every sense he had all the components to become an excellent very successful advocate. But his greed for money or his yearning to make a big name fast or both combined, leads him to take cases like that of the defendants’ in my eviction case, where he knew very well that their claims were bogus and they were really servants in my house. As a result, he had to coach the witnesses to tell utter lies in the Courts under oath, he had to create cases by incorporating all falsehoods, which in any country would secure him a place in the jail, he had to tell utter lies in the Courts, etc. He learned more crooked tricks from people like Dushtan and thus, the net result will be that he will become very rich soon and he will earn a name that if anyone wants an excellent crooked lawyer to win any bogus case then take Nathuram. His abilities, all components to become an excellent lawyer, are being used in the wrong direction and most probably he will also end up like his father. Apparently his father committed suicide because he was caught into a situation where there was no way out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER SIX

MY EXPERIENCES WITH THE POLICE

 

 

A childhood experience

 

I HAD VERY bad memories of my childhood experiences with the police. During the national independence struggle in India of the late 1930’s and early 1940’s the country folks were afraid of police vans. The villagers used to run away from the roads because the police would stop the van and would beat up whoever was found on the road in order to terrorize the country folks so that they would not participate in independence agitations. My parents and relatives used to give specific instructions to us children to skip away from the roads if we saw any police van. My first-hand experience with the modus operandi of the police happened when I was a teenager. There was a murder and robbery in our neighborhood. Somebody stole the life-savings of a man living alone by breaking into his house in the night and then murdering him, possibly because he recognized the thief or thieves. Immediately, the local police started their routine of harassing all the neighbors. Police coming to someone’s house was considered to be very bad and a horrible thing in the countryside because the image of the police was really bad. The police went to all the neighbors and they came to our house also. I was doing some homework. I was the only male person in our house at that moment. The police team asked the names of everybody in the house. I gave. One policeman commented that we needed money for my school fees and books (in those days education was quite expensive and fees were to be paid in schools also) and hence decided to murder the neighbor and collect his life-savings. The team asked me where the money was hidden. I told them that we had nothing to do with the murder and that the murdered man was our close friend. After half an hour of insinuations and threats they told me to tell my father to come to the police station, and if my father came home within the next two hours then to tell him to go and see the police at the nearby tea shop meaning the toddy shop (toddy is fermented sap, alcoholic, from toddy palm trees). Luckily my father came home after an hour and he rushed to the toddy shop with Rs 20/- (that was the rate of bribe in those days) and got his name removed from the so-called witness list or hit list of the police.

 

 

My second experience, applying for a passport

 

The second experience was when I applied for a passport in early 1961. In those days the passport application was to be made at the District Collectorate, in my case at Kottayam town. I had won the national level competition for a Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship and hence eligible to go to Canada for higher studies. Hence I had to take a passport. I went to Kottayam Collectorate. Each time the clerk would give one excuse or the other saying that either the relevant clerk was absent or that they ran out of the application forms etc. After my 3rd or 4th trip one peon from the same office approached me and asked whether I knew how to get an application form. I asked him whether there was another way, other than asking for a form from the relevant office. He told me that I would not get a form by that way. I had to ask a particular clerk for coffee, take him to a particular coffee shop nearby, and while nobody was looking, slip a Rs 20/- currency note under the table to the clerk. Then, after the coffee, come back to the office with the clerk and I would get the application form. I went through the process and got the form from the same officer from the same office where I was asking for the form on all the previous occasions.

While giving the form the clerk instructed me how to fill up the form and also told me that there would be a police investigation and that I would have to give Rs 20/- to the policeman also, otherwise the police report would be negative and I would not get the passport. I made the application, and as stated, a policeman came within two weeks. He was supposed to have investigated me confidentially. But he came to the tea shop about half a mile away and sent a messenger home saying that the police was coming and I should be at home and ready, meaning ready with the bribe. The policeman came home. The first thing he said was that since I studied at Trivandrum and spent two years there the file would be sent to Trivandrum and there was no way that I would get the passport within the next two years. But if I did not make the trip to Canada by August 1961 my scholarship would be lost forever. I had already told my father what the clerk at Kottayam told me. My father invited the policeman inside, and gave him his “fee” of Rs 20/-. After getting the money he was in all smiles and told me that he would not be sending the file to Trivandrum and that I would get the passport soon. In those days, apart from the so-called police verification one had to produce two guarantors, each one should have immovable properties worth at least fifty thousand rupees each, something like saying worth hundred lakhs of rupees each in terms of the money value of the year 2000.

 

 

My third encounter with the police

 

My next encounter with the police was after 25 years by the end of 1986. By that time I had completed the construction of my house at Edappally, Ernakulam, Kerala, India. All the sub contractors for the house construction settled their accounts directly with me as agreed upon and gave me all the relevant receipts, bills and accounts. But the main contractor had something else in mind. He did not give the receipts, bills and sight books but instead he demanded another Rs 2 lakhs more. What I heard from the watchman was correct. What the contractor had in mind was to occupy my newly constructed house on the pretext that he had to get more money from me and finally get hold of the house by reimbursing what I actually spent on the house. In my evaluation the money advanced to him was already several thousands rupees more than for the work done through him. I suggested allowing a third party to have an independent evaluation of his work and to take the commercial rate and settle the accounts. He did not want that either but simply wanted Rs 2 lakhs more. I refused.

In December 1986, on the day I landed in Cochin from Canada, the contractor, three of his associates and some 40 people including most of the contractor’s workers surrounded the house and gheraoed (forced confinement) for hours. I had no phone installed in the house at that time. Two neighbors tried to intervene but they were threatened away by the contractor’s men. Gherao is an utter violation of the basic human rights and unheard of in any civilized society. But in Kerala it is an accepted form of intimidation and there seems to be no law against this form of barbarianism. I was compelled to sign cheques worth Rs 2 lakhs, blank papers etc. I could not contact the local police. I did not even know at that time which was our police station. I had heard about the DIG (Deputy Inspector General) of police and the City Police Commissioner. I went to the DIG and explained what happened. He advised me to go to the bank immediately and put a stop payment on the 4 cheques totaling Rs 2 lakhs. He said that unless I was prepared to stay back in India and pursue the matter it was foolish for me to file a police complaint and leave for Canada because by the time I came back to India next time the case would turn around and I would become the accused and that was the reality in Kerala. I went to the CID (Criminal Investigation Department) inspector whom I knew. He also gave me the same advice. I went to the City Police Commissioner. He was credited to be an honest and very efficient law enforcer. After hearing the story the first things he said to me was “you must be a crook also, otherwise you would not have associated with known crooks”. I said that I never knew that the contractor was a crook and if I knew I would not have associated with him. He promised to look into the matter. Then I went to the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation). They agreed to accept a complaint from me and investigate the contractor and his associates since they were central government employees at that time. When the contractor’s men tried to cash the cheques they realized that the cheques were useless because I had put stop payments on the cheques.

After a few months, the contractor and his associates came to my house and agreed to have an independent evaluation and they said that I could employ any engineer for the evaluation. I got an evaluation from a very fair-minded retired chief engineer. As per his estimate, the contractor had to return about Rs 50,000/- to me from my advances to him thus far. The contractor agreed to come to discuss the estimate. Instead, he and his associates again came with some 40 or more people, surrounded the house and started a gherao for the second time. This time I could send someone to Kalamassery Police Station and explain what was happening at my house. The police refused to come. Apparently the contractor had already bribed and informed them in advance or the gherao was with the knowledge and blessing of the local police. Then my messenger tried to call the City Police Commissioner from there. Then the SI at the Kalamassery station asked two policemen to go to my house. After the police came the crowd started thinning out. Then three to four from the crowd volunteered their names and addresses and said that all of them assembled there because I called them to assemble there and that I was going to disburse their back wages. The policemen asked me to come to the station and then they left.

Soon after, I went to Kalamassery Police Station. The SI, the contractor, his three associates and some police were sitting around; occupying all chairs there, and were drinking something from a giant size whisky bottle. It looked like tea and they were talking. I told the SI that I came to give my statement. He said that unfortunately all the chairs were occupied and hence he could not offer me a chair to sit. I said that it was ok but I would like to give my statement. He ignored me and they continued talking. I waited there, standing all the time, nearly for an hour. This was apparently one of the police procedures of humiliating the complainant. Then the SI left the scene saying that he had to see the CI. Then I left and told the policemen that when they were ready they could ask me to come back. I went home. After about an hour two policemen came home and asked me to come to the station. I went and gave my statement. After seeing the attitude of the SI, I knew that I was not going to get any justice from there. On the next day early in the morning I went to Trivandrum, met the IG (Inspector General) whom I knew and also the DGP (Director General of Police). Complaints were typed up there and sent by registered mail to DIG, Ernakulam, City Police Commissioner of Cochin, Vigilance SP and also to DGP’s office. As per the version of Kalamassery police, there were only four people at my house and they were in fact called there by me to disburse their back wages and that I was telling a lie that there were over forty people.

Since the SI and CI were scolded by the higher ups they called me again to the station and said that they decided to settle the dispute and said that I should give the contractor Rs 1 lakh instead of Rs 2 lakhs. I told them that the contractor was supposed to return to me Rs 50,000/-. Then the next step the contractor did was to ask four of his friends to file four bogus cases in the courts at Ernakulam, saying that I borrowed money from them totaling Rs 2 lakhs. Those cases went through the courts, and as I mentioned earlier, were rejected by the courts with cost against the contractor’s men.

During that episode and many later episodes, I found that everyone in the Kerala police force from the Assistant Commissioner and up were very decent people and took immediate steps, the same pattern of help that I could expect in the West. One could communicate with them as normal human beings, and they were on the same wavelength as the common man. But the policemen from the lowest level up to the level of CI (Circle Inspector) were entirely a different bunch. Their language, mannerism and behavioral pattern were those of common criminals. They were on the same wavelengths with unlawful elements in Kerala. Most probably it was because in their daily life, day in and day out, they dealt with the criminals. After a while, it might be natural that they also became like unlawful elements and started behaving like that. This is the only explanation that I could give. When the SI’s were recruited directly the young recruits used to behave like proper gentlemen in the beginning but later they also became like others in the police force.

 

 

My next encounter with the police

 

The next experience with the police was in January 2000. The harassment of the foreigner husband, John, of Paanchaali by his wife Paanchaali and in-laws intensified and one day the SI from Kalamassery came home with two policemen. He wanted to talk to John as well as to me claiming that there were many complaints against John, alleging that he was harassing his wife and in-laws. The SI wanted to talk to John and me separately, and to John’s in-laws privately. First he talked to me and asked about John. I told the SI that it was impossible for him to beat up his wife because he was almost always with me and outside of the house. But his wife and in-laws were using abusive language at him whenever he was at home and the in-laws and his wife were training his children to use abusive words at him in Malayalam such as “poda patty”, “poda mayre” etc. In fact the harassment was the other way around. Then the SI wanted me to give a statement in writing which one of the policemen was asked to record. The SI called John to the dining room and talked to him for some time and then went into the work area and talked to his wife and in-laws privately. When he came out I commented to the SI that after talking to everyone he might have realized that there was no truth in the complaints. The SI told me that he and the other policemen believed Paanchaali’s, her brother’s and parents’ version. Then I told the SI that it was easy for him to get the children checked by a medical doctor and also examined by a psychologist so that the SI could get the truth about John abusing his children. One of the complaints was that John was sexually abusing his children but John did not know at that time that this was one of the accusations against him. The SI told me that there was no need for such examination and that he was convinced of John’s guilt. He also threatened me that I would be called to the police station later. After the police left, John’s wife and in-laws talked among themselves loud so that I should hear, saying that while talking to the SI, they realized that they were related to the SI. Their main strategy was to claim blood relationship with whoever important person that they came across. Naturally the SI fell into their trap and left the house thinking that he was related to them.

After that, the daily harassment of John and me by the local police continued. Almost every day policemen would be coming home and asking us to go to the police station. At the police station warning and threat of action against us continued. The accusation against me was that I was helping John. I did not think that there was any accusation against me of molesting their children, or at least the police did not indicate that. The SI and CI were anxious to take some kind of action against us. They could not arrest John because he was a foreigner. Apparently the police had to get clearance from the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi to arrest him. They did not want to arrest me because I was the Director of a research institute in Trivandrum, which was financed by the Government of Kerala and the Government of India and they knew that there would be severe action against them from the government side if they indulged in such unlawful activities. But they were itching to do something against us to please Dushtan, his sister Paanchaali and his parents.

 

 

Attack on the watchman

 

On 27th February 2000 I posted my first watchman, hired from a professional security agency in Ernakulam. When I went to the town, Dushtan, Paanchaali and their parents physically beat up the watchman and threw him out of my compound. When John and I came home they attacked the jeep with stones, trying to break open the flexi glass windows of the jeep to kill us. John had filmed the whole scene with his video camera. When Kundi went inside to bring a vakkathi to chop open the windows of the jeep we left and went straight to Kalamassery police station with the videotape of the attack. The SI did not even want to see the tape, which could be viewed on the side screen of the camera itself. He would not take our complaint. He laughed with the other policemen saying that the “foreigners”, meaning us, were thinking that it was Canada and they could convince the police with video tapes and the foreigners were trying to prove their versions by using video camera in Kerala! The SI asked us to come back in the evening. We went back in the evening and by then Dushtan and Paanchaali were seated in front of the SI and as soon as we were walking in the SI told his other policemen so that Dushtan and Paanchaali could hear and would be pleased, that the pervert foreigner, meaning John, and his accomplice, meaning me, were coming and they had the video camera also and this time perhaps they were going to take a video film of the policemen!

The SI told me that he already “investigated” and found that my watchman tried to molest Kundi and Paanchaali and unless I gave in writing to withdraw the watchman from my house I would not be allowed to go to Canada the next day, as scheduled, because he was going to charge a criminal case against my watchman and I had to be present while the case was being processed because he was my watchman. I had no choice other than to give in writing to withdraw the watchman, and then I left for Canada. This action of the SI gave a clear signal to Dushtan and Paanchaali that whatever they did in my house they had the full support of the SI. With confidence I can say that SI and CI at Kalamassery in 2000 were responsible for all the criminal activities that took place in my house starting from this incident in February 2000. Their wholehearted support for Dushtan and Paanchaali and their parents gave license to carryout a series of criminal activities in my house with impunity. I could say with certainty that this SI and the CI at Kalamassery police station at that time made a petty criminal like Dushtan into a full-fledged thug later on.

 

 

Serving us with the police protection notice

 

One day two policemen came home from the Kalamassery police station and asked John and me to go to the station immediately and that the CI wanted to see us. We went and met the CI. The CI showed me a photocopy of a High Court order asking the police to give police protection to Dushtan and his family against John and myself. The CI said that there were eight police complaints from Dushtan and his family, starting from 19th March 2000, the day I came back from Canada, that I was bringing goondas home and threatening Dushtan and his family with eviction and physical liquidation. Then they filed a case in the High Court and then the High Court had given a direction to the police. Hence the police had to enforce the direction. I told him that if there were eight complaints to the police then why no police came to me asking any question. Then he said that he knew that the complaints were bogus and hence they did not want to send any police to me. Then I asked him about the meaning of police protection because I thought that the police protected every citizen in Kerala. He said that the order meant that if John and I did anything displeasing to Dushtan and his family then the police would take immediate action against us. In substance, he told me that from then onwards we should be worshiping even the floor where the Dushtan family stepped on, otherwise we would be in trouble. I had mentioned the rest of the story earlier, that we also filed petition for police protection and we also got order for police protection.

 

 

A brilliant plan for prosecution

 

One day the local SI and CI came up with a brilliant plan, most probably cooked up with the help of Dushtan or Dushtan himself taught the SI and CI the plan. They sent police home asking John and me to go to Kalamassery police station. We went. It was a Friday afternoon. I was called as an interpreter to explain to John since his English was not good. The local police could not understand his English with the French accent. They wanted me to tell John that the SI and CI had an arrest warrant with them to arrest John on charges of attacking his wife, in-laws and sexually molesting his children. That was the first time John heard that part of the accusations included molesting his own children. He did not understand why police treated him with contempt for the past two years since 1998 December. They wanted me to tell John to take anticipatory bail and they would give him until Monday to take the bail because he might not be able to arrange on Saturday. In the afternoon of Monday John was going to be arrested and put in police custody. They claimed that the case was charged as per instructions from the City Police Commissioner. The claim was that when the Commissioner was posted somewhere in the Punjab State of India there was a similar situation. A foreigner married a Punjabi girl and the foreigner was harassing the girl and his in-laws and there were a series of complaints against the foreigner. The Police Commissioner did not pay much attention thinking that the girl and her family were making up stories. Then one day the foreigner murdered the girl and the in-laws and left India. He did not want such a thing to happen in Ernakulam and hence he charged the case. If John took an anticipatory bail then it was equivalent to John admitting to the crimes and then the police could safely proceed to prosecute him successfully. This was the master plan. The police gave me until Monday to persuade John to take an anticipatory bail. By that time the police met me a few occasions and they figured out that I was fully ignorant of police tricks, I was the trusting type and I could be easily manipulated to put John in trouble.

On the way home I told John about the seriousness of the charges. Then John said that he was not planning to take any anticipatory bail for crimes that he did not commit. If he was arrested then he would fast unto death in the police cell. He was very serious. Then I suggested to him that if he was serious then he should write things up and give the details to the local newspapers before going on a fast unto death. On that Friday evening itself he wrote up how his wife and in-laws cheated him out of all his life-savings and then filing false cases to destroy his reputation. I corrected the English and he got it typed from a commercial place and went himself to Deepika and Malayala Manorama (Malayalam newspapers) and Indian Express (English) and gave them the news item.

On Saturday itself the news appeared with a big headline in Deepika saying that he lost his life-savings and his reputation says John. Then all other newspapers and news media started calling Kalamassery police station. The SI and CI flatly denied that there was any attempt to arrest John and put him in jail. Thus ended the brilliant plan of trapping John first and then taking criminal proceedings against him.

 

 

John’s circular

 

After the newspaper write-up, John enlarged on the details of how he was enticed by Paanchaali’s brother and parents into marrying her, how he was made to buy Rs 2 lakhs worth of gold for every member of her family, before marriage, claiming that it was a custom among Syrian Christian families in Kerala, how he was persuaded to sell everything that he had in Canada and transferred the money to the joint bank account in Ernakulam, how he was persuaded to take loans on his credit cards and transferred that also to the joint account, how his wife stopped cosigning the withdrawal slips so that he could not withdraw even a paise from his own accounts and thus he became a destitute in Ernakulam when he had over Rs 6.5 lakhs in cash in the bank, how he was cheated out of his 7.68 acres of cardamom estate in Munnar area in Kerala by registering in the names of the in-laws, how his jeep ended up being registered in his wife’s name and how his bank account was drained of several lakhs of rupees before he put the requirement of both signatures for withdrawing from his bank accounts, how his in-laws claimed to be owning estates, fleets of lorries, elephants etc at Palai when his father-in-law was a peon at St Thomas College Palai and they were destitute in Palai. He sent the circular with copies of all supporting documents. He even obtained and enclosed a salary and designation certificate from the Principal of St Thomas College Palai showing that his father-in-law was a peon there from 1950 until 1980 and he retired as a peon with the last consolidated monthly salary and allowances of Rs 521/- only. Then only the neighbors, church people and leading citizens in Ernakulam came to know of the true facts about Dushtan and Paanchaali’s background.

 

 

Dushtan breaking into the garage and taking away my car

 

Encouraged by the actions or inactions of Kalamassery SI and CI, as soon as I left for Canada on 28th February 2000, Dushtan with the assistance of his sister Paanchaali and parents broke opened the garage gate lock and took away my car (Ambassador KL7 A 3136), broke into the house and changed many locks in the house including the front door lock, switchboard room lock etc. After getting the news in Canada I had to cancel all my international engagements and rush back to India. I was invited to give invited talks at the international conferences in San Antonio, Texas USA in March 2000, in Bordeaux, France in May 2000, in Toulose, France in June 2000, in Paris, France in July 2000. I was also invited to visit and collaborate on research projects in El Paso, Texas, USA, in Vienna, Austria, in Italy and in Greece. I had to cancel all these and I rushed back to Ernakulam. As usual, I could not get help from the local police at Kalamassery and hence I had to go to the IG, Trivandrum and up to the Honorable Chief Minister of Kerala. Then as per orders from above the local police gave me police presence to change back the locks, which were replaced by the defendants.

 

 

John’s escape from India and the case of habeas corpus

 

On 28th April 2000 John, with his children, disappeared from Ernakulam. Apparently he drove his jeep all the way to New Delhi from Ernakulam. He and his children did not have anything with them except the clothes that they were wearing at the time they left Ernakulam. Dushtan managed to confine police search among my relatives and acquaintances so that there would be plenty of time for John to escape because he did not want to be burdened with the duty of looking after Paanchaali’s children after John was driven away. Paanchaali’s boy friend in Ernakulam, who was also a close friend of Dushtan, had already publicly stated that he did not want Paanchaali’s children and he wanted only the girl. Then the local CI took it as a personal challenge to catch John and his children and bring them back to Ernakulam. He did not succeed. Then he threatened me with filing a habeas corpus against me and asked me to produce Paanchaali’s children. I told him politely that he could file any corpus that he wanted, I was not interested in Paanchaali’s children and I had already a case going in the Sub Court at Ernakulam to evict all of them from my house, which included John and his children also and hence I had no need to take John and his children and hide them somewhere, for what purpose? John’s escape was a miracle because it had only one in a million chance of success and it was successful.

 

 

Physical threat to my life and Bennen from Mamangalam

 

When almost all strategies of Dushtan, in collusion with the local police, failed they decided to try physical threat and intimidation. By this time a new CI came to Kalamassery police station. This fellow was stated to be a close friend of the boyfriend of Paanchaali. A new SI also came and this new SI happened to be my student in an extension course that I had given at Trivandrum. Then one day at about 10 pm some three goondas (thugs) came into the house. I used to come home at the latest by 9 pm but on that day I got late, meeting someone and I could reach only by about 9.50 pm. When I came in, the day watchman had come back to talk to the night watchman about something. They were talking outside on the verandah when I went into the house. In about 10 minutes time the night watchman came upstairs and said that one hefty fellow had entered the compound and another hefty fellow was at the gate and the fellow who entered the compound did not obey the watchman’s order to identify himself. I went to the verandah. Then I saw one fellow urinating inside the compound facing to the entrance wall. From the backside, the fellow looked like Dushtan with broad and bulging shoulders and head sticking to the body and having no neck. I asked him why he was urinating there. Then he turned around came to me talking to me in wild and abusive language about some files. I did not follow what he was saying. I told him that he had the wrong house and the wrong person and if he wanted some files he should be seated on the sofa set in the living room and to let me call the police. He continued with the abusive language and he was in my living room by then, while I was going upstairs into the master bedroom sector to call the police.

I called the local police station but the SI, who was my student, was not at the station, and I told the station to send some police in a hurry because some goondas (thugs) had entered my house and one was threatening me with physical liquidation and he was already in my living room. The police said that they would send some police soon. When I came out of my bedroom side, after calling the police, one hefty fellow, who was talking about the files, was already upstairs on the inside balcony and at the door. He pocked at my chest with his fingers and said that he had the correct house, he was not mistaken and I was the one that he wanted to talk to. By this time another hefty fellow had already entered my living room and a third fellow was at the gate. The fellow on the balcony told me that if I did not get out of my house and vacate from my house in that night itself I would be a dead body the next day. Again I told him, without losing my composure, that he had the wrong house and the wrong person and that I had called the police and he should sort out things with the police. Then he clarified about the files. He said that if I wanted the files he would give them to me, in other words, he would beat me up if I ever mentioned about the files. Still I could not gather which files he was talking about. Threat of physical liquidation of me continued, both of them, one near me and the other one in the living room, showering me with abusive language and ordering me to vacate from my house.

As soon as the goondas entered the house Dushtan and his family closed their sector and were sitting inside waiting to assist the goondas if the goondas were in any difficulty. By this time the fellow at the gate had threatened and driven away my day watchman and my night watchman was already out of the compound and on the public road. When the police did not arrive in 20 minutes I called the police station once again. The goonda standing nearby me told me that if I did not succeed in calling the police then he could call the police for me and mentioned the names of policemen who would be coming and that the policemen were their buddies. The second time he overheard the police station saying that the police was on the way and they would be at my place in ten minutes. Then the goondas left my house, walking out slowly and taking their own time.

According to the day watchman, who happened to be there, the car looking like the one that used to drop Dushtan at the house a few times, dropped the three goondas at the corner, where the entrance road turned and then backed up. Three persons got down and there were other persons inside the car. When the goondas left my house, the three goondas walked to the curve and a car was heard being driven away.

After the goondas left, two policemen came and took down the details and left. The next day I went to Kalamassery police station and explained what happened and filed a formal complaint and the SI promised to catch the goondas. I also went to DIG, Ernakulam and told him what happened and told him that such things were unheard of in any other country of unlawful elements entering inside the house and threatening the house owner of physical liquidation if he did not vacate from his house. He promised that the goondas would be caught.

Still I was wondering about what they said about the files. The only connection to files was that I had asked the CI (Circle Inspector) of Kalamassery police station to show me the files regarding the complaints when he came and took away my day watchman and his would be wife and charged them with immoral activities when I was in Trivandrum. I had described this incident earlier. I had insisted on seeing the case file, and even after making an official written request the CI refused to show me the case files. Then I had a feeling that the CI, in collusion with Dushtan, was behind sending the goondas to my house. According to the night watchman, on that day Dushtan had come home earlier than usual. Someone had to inform the goondas from inside my house that I had come home, and the goondas were waiting within ten minutes distance from my house. Otherwise the goodas would have been at my house by 9 pm at the latest or earlier because I would be normally in my house by 7.30 to 8 pm, and at the latest by 9 pm.

The main goonda had identified himself saying that his name was Bennen and he was known as Mamangalam Bennen (Mamangalam is the name of a nearby place) and that everybody knew him, meaning that he was the leader of the goondas at Mamangalam area and that he was notorious and everyone was afraid of him. I told the SI also that the fellow identified himself as Mamangalam Bennen. After a few days I met the SI and the SI told me that there was no such person as Mamangalam Bennen and the fellow had given me a wrong name. His police searched all around and there was no known criminal fitting the description of the person that I described. Later I came to know that the SI had not even charged the case, which meant that he did not even officially record my complaint. When the DIG, Ernakulam came to know about this he ordered disciplinary action against the SI. Then the SI came to me saying that he tried his level best to catch the goondas and he could not and now the DIG had taken disciplinary action against him and that he would be demoted or at least his promotion would be blocked and whether I could do anything. He wanted me to withdraw my complaint. I told him that my complaint was genuine and the goondas had entered my house and threatened me and I could not withdraw my complaint but I could talk to the higher ups and request them to stop the disciplinary action. I met the City Police Commissioner, who was handling the disciplinary action against the SI, and told him that I wanted only the goondas to be caught and if the SI could not catch then I did not want any disciplinary action against him.

Then after a few months, when a new SI took charge I gave the new SI a picture of a goonda from the newspapers and told him that the fellow who entered my house looked like him. He told me that I was mistaken and that goonda was not from anywhere near my house. He talked as if he knew the fellow who entered my house and pocked at my chest. Then I asked my night watchman, who was from the neighborhood, to inquire about a Bennen from Mamangalam and whether such a person really existed. After a couple of days he came with the information that there existed a person named Mamangalam Bennen and he was the leader of the goonda group in Mamangalam and whatever the fellow said were all correct. He warned me not to continue with my investigation because the fellows were very notorious criminals. I inquired through two other persons and both of them knew Bennen and they said that since everyone knew Bennen and his group, the police must definitely know about them also. Then I realized that the CI and Dushtan were behind sending the goondas to me and therefore the SI could not record my case and proceed with it and he decided to go through the disciplinary procedures rather than betraying his superior, namely the CI. Then I realized that the goonda was talking about the file that I demanded of the CI. This Bennen’s place was about 5 minutes by car from my place and the goondas were waiting at Bennen’s house or at the nearby bar to get the signal from Dushtan to come to my place. Thus, they were able to reach my place within ten minutes of my arrival at my house.

 

 

Continued harassments

 

The mango-picking incident took place during the time of this new SI; I will call him the third SI after I started dealing with Kalamassery police in February 2000. As soon as the third SI took charge Dushtan went and influenced him and the SI started working for Dushtan in harassing me. Before picking the mangos the defendants had changed two locks and locked two rooms out of the four rooms in the servants’ quarters. I had a suspicion that they had stored the stolen things from my house in those rooms. I wanted the police to open up those rooms and search and recover the stolen goods. I made a formal complaint to the third SI itemizing the stolen goods and saying that most probably the defendants had stored those in the locked rooms and I wanted the SI to open those rooms and recover the stolen goods. Then came the mango-picking incident. I had made a complaint also about picking the mangos from my mango trees in my courtyard in spite of the objections from the day watchman. I was at St Thomas College Palai giving lectures to the M.Sc students there when the mango picking was going on. The SI first gave me a sermon that educated people like me should not waste police time by making complaints about mango picking. I told him that it was not a question of picking mangos but it was about trespassing and violating the basic right of an owner to enjoy the fruits of his own trees. The SI did not want to come with me to investigate the matters. He sent some policemen home one day when I was not there. The watchman gave the exact details of what happened regarding the mango picking. With that type of a report the SI had to proceed with the case. Therefore he decided to come on his own and intimidate the watchman. He came to my place on another day, when I was not there, and intimidated the watchman and asked him to change his original testimony and the watchman changed the testimony to picking two mangos for making curry. When I went to see the SI, the SI said that he investigated the cases and there were no substance in my accusations. Then the SI added that he investigated my complaint about the bathroom and the bathroom was open when he went there and it was not locked up and hence he closed the file and told me not to file frivolous cases in the future. I told him that there was no complaint about a bathroom and I had filed about two rooms in the servants’ quarters, out of the four rooms excluding the bathroom, being locked up without my authorization. I realized that there was no use of talking to such an SI and I did not pursue with my complaints thereafter.

 

 

Fabrication of a criminal case against me

 

Then one day Dushtan attacked my day watchman unprovoked, saying that he was informing me about the activities of the defendants. Dushtan chocked him and slapped across his face and chased him out with bricks in both hands to hit him. When I came out hearing the commotion he chased me also with the bricks. Finally, when Dushtan went inside the house I took my day watchman and went to the local police station and filed a complaint with the third SI. He told me that he would investigate and he would call me after a couple of days to collect my testimony. Then after a couple of days, two policemen came home telling me to go to the police station with my witnesses, namely the day watchman and the driver. I went to the station. The Station Writer (the office manager at the station) had already got a pre-prepared station bail form with him and told me to sign the bail form. Otherwise I was going to be arrested and put into police lockup. He said that there was a case of myself and my day watchman molesting Paanchaali, and her brother Dushtan had made an official complaint and that they “investigated” and found the complaints to be true. Hence they had to arrest me. They said that they asked me to bring two witnesses as bondsmen for taking a station bail for me. I said that I wanted to talk to my advocate about this matter. He said that he could not let me do that and he would let me do anything only after signing the station bail form, otherwise I had to go directly into the station lockup. Hence I had no choice, other than to sign the form. After signing the form, I made a vehement verbal protest to the SI. The charge was that my day watchman and I molested Paanchaali at 3.30 pm on 3rd April 2002. I told the SI that I was at Palai at the Meenachil Registry Office until 3 pm on that day and by 3.30 pm I was on the way to Ernakulam and nearby Palai area. It would take a minimum of two hours by car to reach my house at Ernakulam from Palai. Then he asked me to bring some witnesses from Palai to testify to that effect. I called Professor M. Mathai (Professor of Malayalam at St Thomas College Palai) and my nephew, who were with me at the Registry Office, and requested them to take a bus right away and come to Kalamassery police station. They immediately took a bus and reached Kalamassery station by 4 pm. The same Station Writer was asked to record their statements. He recorded. Then the SI understood that the case against me was fully fabricated. He told me that the case would be referred away and would not be charged and apologized saying that he had to go through the process when there was a formal complaint from a woman and that too supported by some seven witnesses. The police had collected testimonies from seven bogus witnesses saying that they had seen my watchman and me molesting Paanchaali in my courtyard at the gate, some had directly seen and some had heard about it soon after it happened!

I was asked to come back after a couple of days to give my testimony about Dushtan attacking my day watchman. After several postponements from the police side finally I was asked to go to the station on a particular day at 1 pm. I went there with my driver because my driver was an eyewitness to the attack. An assistant SI was supposed to record my testimony. He was fully drunk and lying on a desk. The Station Writer told me to wait until he got up, saying that he had a free lunch, most probably given by Dushtan on that day because the Station Writer might have informed that I would be coming on that day to give my testimony. When the assistant SI got up I told him that he was supposed to record my testimony. He asked his assistant, who used to record for him, to come and record. He would not record whatever I stated. He would simply say that it was not important or that he did not want that aspect or this aspect etc. I found that he wanted to create something on his own in the name of taking my testimony. Strangely enough the recorded statement would not be read to the person or the person giving the testimony would not be allowed to see or sign also as per the police procedure. This is against basic logic and also against the basic rights of the person giving the testimony. Hence anything could be created in the name of a testimony. When my driver gave the testimony I was not allowed to sit there and later the driver told me that they would not record whatever he stated saying that it was unimportant and they were recording something else when he was not telling them anything. They did not read to him what was recorded and he was not asked to sign either. Thus they created something in the names of our testimonies.

Apparently, soon after I signed the station bail form someone from the station, possibly the Station Writer himself, rushed to Aluva Magistrate’s Court and filed an official case against my watchman and me molesting Paanchaali at 3.30 pm on 3rd April 2002. From the copies of the records taken from the court later on, it was found that when the police originally filed the case it was filed saying that my watchman molested Paanchaali with my knowledge and blessing. My watchman was the first accused and I the second accused. Then they decided that such a complaint was not effective enough. They filed another FIR stating that I molested Paanchaali with the help of my watchman and thus I was the first accused and my watchman the second accused. Then this was also rushed to Aluva Court but the policeman who went to the court forgot to remove the first FIR and substitute with the second FIR. He simply filed the second FIR also and left. Then after getting the testimonies from Professor M. Mathai and my nephew the SI realized that the testimonies would contradict their case files and hence in their final report they changed their original versions and said that the molestation took place at 5.30 pm on 3rd April 2002 because I had already stated to the SI that I reached back to Ernakulam only by 5.30 pm on that day. In the police case, there were testimonies from seven “witnesses” also in the final report but according to the “witnesses” the event took place at 3.30 pm. Thus the police and Dushtan thought that the case was airtight with testimonies from seven “witnesses” and I would not be able to get out of this criminal case.

It should be mentioned here that the fabricated criminal case was the 33rd case filed against me by the defendants in various forums and the majority of them with the Kalamassery police and the City Police Commissioner. I was asking the SI and the Station Writer whether the case against me was referred away as promised by the SI. Both gave me assurances that the case against me was referred away and I need not worry about it and the case against Dushtan for attacking my day watchman was charged and the police was pursuing that case. When the police framed up a criminal case against me, I had informed the public prosecutor’s office at the High Court about that atrocity. Immediately, they called Kalamassery police and the Station Writer and the SI told the public prosecutor’s office that the case was referred away and that there was no case against me anymore.

Then after several months a new SI took charge at Kalamassery station. Let me call him the 4th SI. I made a courtesy call on a Sunday, after making an appointment through the office. Thus the office manger or the Station Writer knew that I would be visiting the SI on that Sunday at his living quarters. When I went there on that Sunday the Station Writer also happened to be present. While talking to the SI, I told the new SI that Kalamassery police station was harassing me from February 2000 onwards and luckily there was no more case against me. This was in October 2002. The SI told me, he had looked into all files and if his memory was correct then there was one case against me in the Aluva court. I told him that it was referred away. Then the SI asked the Station Writer, who happened to be there on that Sunday, and the Station Writer casually admitted that there might be one case but he was not sure. I was shocked. The same Station Writer was telling me repeatedly that there was no case against me and I could go in peace and do whatever academic activities I wanted to pursue. The very next day I went to the public prosecutor’s office again and told them what I heard. They called Kalamassery station right away. The same Station Writer scolded the caller saying that he had already replied to them a hundred times that there was no case against me anymore there at the station or at Aluva Court. The prosecutor’s office was convinced that there was no case against me.

Since the new SI had told me that there was a case I decided to search at Aluva court. Then I was shocked to find that the police was actively pursuing that criminal case against me and it had gone to the summons stage. The procedure was the following: The court would issue a summons to the accused, to be served through the local police. If it was a case fabricated by the local police or in which the police was interested, then the police would return the summons saying that the accused was in town but refused to receive the summons. Then the court would issue a second summons. The police would repeat the same process. Then the court would issue an arrest warrant. Then the police would come with that warrant on a Friday evening or Saturday if the Saturday was a working day at the court and arrest the accused so that the accused had to spend a minimum of one day in police cell before he could be produced in the court before a magistrate. In my case, the case had progressed to the first summons stage. Only by God’s grace I came to know about it because I decided to meet the new SI on that Sunday.

Then I took official copies of the case files and filed a miscellaneous petition at the High Court of Kerala as Crl M.C.1473/2003 and the High Court quashed the proceedings in the Aluva court against me as CC1555/2002 in the criminal case against me. It was quashed on the basis of the inconsistencies in the police case itself.

 

 

Policemen becoming spokespersons for crooks

 

When the public prosecutor’s office called Kalamassery police about the fabricated criminal case against me, the Station Writer and others at the station said that the public prosecutor’s office should hear the defendants’ side of the story as well, and started narrating their side of the story. Thus the policemen at the station were the spokespersons for the defendants’ side of the story. The police stated whatever the defendants put in their written statements in my eviction suit O.S.No.103/2000, claiming that Kudilan was a wealthy man, they had invested funds in buying land and building my house and that the defamatory statements about my alleged involvements with many women etc, were all true.

First they spread the story that I fathered Dushtan and Paanchaali with the permission and blessing of Kudilan. When the second SI, my student, took charge at the Kalamassery police station he wanted to settle the eviction case by discussion and he thought that he could evict the defendants through discussion. After a few days of discussion, Dushtan or Kundi herself probably told him that I fathered Paanchaali and Dushtan with the permission of Kudilan and that was why I was helping them so much. For the police it was a very believable story. I found the police at Kalamassery so anxious to devour any story of a sexual nature. Then the SI one day asked me casually whether Kudilan fathered Paanchaali and Dushtan. I told him that Kudilan himself was spreading the story in the College that the children were not fathered by him and a lot of people in the College believed that story because Kundi was 25 years younger, when Kudilan married her, and in those days Kudilan was claiming that he was not interested in women but only liked men. I told the SI that most probably the story was not true but Kulilan spread such stories to get sympathy and more financial help from people. Then the SI asked me when I was in India during 1964. I told him that I came to India in July or August 1964, after leaving for Canada in 1961. Paanchaali was born in October 1964. Then I said that after going back to Canada in August 1964 I came back to India in August 1966. Dushtan was born in October 1965. Since the SI’s background was in mathematics he figured out that logically I could not have fathered Dushtan and Paanchaali, whoever testified otherwise. After a while this story subsided at the Kalamassery police station. Dushtan gave this story to the SI after hearing about such a story from my experience with the two brothers from Mampoil in north Kerala, about that I had written earlier. At that time the younger brother used the same story that I had illicit relations with his mother and that was why I helped the boys, otherwise a stranger would not help them to the tune of help that was given to them. While those incidents were taking place the defendants were pretending to be my trusted loyal servants and they knew about the version given by the brothers. Then the defendants tried to use the same story on the SI. I am sure that Kundi must have also smiled at the SI, showing that the story was correct, when the story was told to the SI. That was exactly what the mother of the boys from Mampoil did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

THE JUDGMENTS

 

 

Two judgments in the contractor’s cases

 

AS MENTIONED EARLIER , the contractor who built the house for me demanded an extra Rs 2 lakhs from me, when he was supposed to return to me Rs 50,000/- from the advances given to him as per the contract. When I suggested for arbitration by an independent engineer the contractor and his men refused. Then they tried gherao (forced confinement) twice. When those intimidation tactics also failed they decided to file four cases in four different courts in Ernakulam saying that I borrowed from four other people a total of Rs 2 lakhs and that I did not pay back after several requests.

During one of the forced confinement, they had forced me to put my signatures on four blank sheets. I did not put my official signature but wrote my name, in four different styles in the four papers. Since none of them knew my real official signature they left thinking that they got my real signatures on the blank sheets. Then they used these sheets and created “promissory notes” out of them, stating that I borrowed money from four different people of varying amounts and promised to pay back the capital with 24% compound interest. Then they filed these papers as the supporting documents for their cases.

When I took my advocates to fight these contractor’s cases all advocates stated that I could not win those cases unless I told a lie. The first advocate, who issued replies to the first notices to me, said that I had to deny having put my signatures on those sheets. He said that even if I did not put my official signature but wrote my name, in whatever style and whatever be the circumstances, the promissory notes were valid. This was a strange law that I heard of. He said therefore I had to deny putting my name and that would end the matter and then their cases would not stand. I told him that I did not want to win a case by telling a lie and I could explain the circumstances to the judge and the judge would understand. The advocate had no such hope saying that the judges usually looked only at the letter of the law and they would not be looking for or interested in the truth.

Then when I took my second and final advocate to defend me in the four cases the first thing he said was that there was only one in million chance to win the cases because I admitted putting my name on blank sheets. He wanted to make doubly sure. He wanted to get opinion from a retired and very respected lawyer in Ernakulam. The two of us went to this senior retired lawyer and explained the situation. He said that for winning the case I should have denied having put my name on blank sheets. He also stated that there was only one in a million chance for me to win the cases. Thus, all the lawyers, without exception stated that I should have denied having put my name on blank sheets to win the cases. In other words, there was no way of winning without telling a lie. I decided to continue with the truth and hoped that the case would end up with a good judge.

When the trial stage came, I came to know that the four people alleged to have given me money were the wife of a notorious lawyer in Ernakulam, his mother, his uncle and the 4th person was probably his lady office clerk or business partner in crime. The wife was also a lecturer in Mathematics in one of the colleges near Ernakulam and an influential person with the conduct of examinations at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, and all were active workers of the CPM (Communist Party, Marxist). What types of honesty and integrity can be expected in the examination duties of a university from such an individual! My classmate told me that if I paid Rs 1 lakh, instead of the Rs 2 lakhs that they demanded, then they would settle the matter and avoid wasting my time and going through humiliation at the courts in Ernakulam. He said that at the end I would be paying for everything including their lawyers’ fees. I told him that it was an easy way of making money in Kerala; first file fabricated cases then try to settle it for half the amount asked for. My classmate also warned me that they were going to ruin my reputation completely and when they finished with my cases I would be left with the only option of committing suicide. The 4th defendant in O.S.103/2000 repeated exactly the same sentences to me when the defendants refused to move out from my house.

One of the four cases came up for trial before a lady judge. Then all the advocates that I talked to, including my advocate, stated that the lady judge would only go by the books and hence there was no chance of a judgment in my favor. The second case came before another judge. His name was Shri R. Natarajan, if my memory is correct, and the case number was O.S.No.7/1990 of the Principal Sub Court, Ernakulam. The trial went faster in his court. When I gave my testimony I told only the truths and everything as they happened. We had produced certified copies of my bankbook showing that I had over Rs 2 lakhs in my account when they claimed that I had borrowed money from them. The reason given by them was that I ran out of funds while the construction of my house was going on. The wife of the notorious advocate in Ernakulam was the claimant in this suit. Her plaint stated that on several occasions I met her and borrowed money on different occasions totaling to the amount that she was claiming. But when she was on the witness stand in the court, she was asked whether I was present in the courtroom. She could not identify me in court because she had never seen me and stated that her husband did all the transactions. The contractor himself, his associates, all top-level central government employees came and testified on behalf of the claimant, telling utter lies from the beginning till the end. Some of them claimed that they came with me to the lawyer’s place and then I went inside and borrowed the fund and came out and I told them that I got the money. Some others claimed that I told them that I borrowed money from the lawyer etc. The Honorable Judge could see through that they were all telling lies and that I was the only one telling the truth. He dismissed their case with cost and my cost against them, the judgment was pronounced on 16th January 1992. This was the very first judgment from India in a case filed against me. This was a good and just judgment and I got that judgment only by God’s grace because the trial progressed faster in that judge’s court and the judgment came first in that court even though the trail started in the lady judge’s court much earlier. In the judgment, the Honorable Judge stated specifically that the contractor and his three friends, all central government employees and occupying top positions, were uttering lies in the court and he described them as the “gang of four” trying to extort money from me.

This fair judgment gave me confidence in the judicial process in Kerala but this confidence was shattered later by a judgment in an I.A. in my eviction case O.S.No.103/2000. The contractor’s notorious lawyer was fabricating and winning all the fabricated cases. Mine was his 187th such case, as per the statement of the contractor, where he met with his first defeat in a fully fabricated case.

The readers may be surprised to learn that there was no action against those government employees for perjury and for running contract business while being full time government employees drawing full salaries. I sent copies of the judgment as well as copies of the CBI report to the court about their activities, to concerned authorities in New Delhi and requested for action. The net result was that there was an internal enquiry resulting in no action against them. The courts do not take any action against persons committing such obvious perjury. Thus, such crimes continue unabated and flourish unchecked in Kerala and probably throughout India.

The notorious lawyer also played many dirty tricks while the trials were going on. He would bring up all the 4 cases in 4 different courts at the same time. My advocate had to send his juniors to various courts requesting the judges to set aside the cases to a later time on the same day. They brought two cases together for trial. I as well as my advocate had to be present in two different courts at the same time. During my testimony the assistants to the notorious lawyer pulled out the photocopy of some form that I filled for the Tahsildar in 1984 or 1985 and asked me whether it was my signature appearing there. It was not my official signature but my name was written by me or by the contractor’s men. Later my advocate told me that I did not have to answer any question on a photocopy. Another trick they played was to annoy and waste the precious time of our witnesses. When they saw that our witnesses were present they would purposely waste time in the court so that our witnesses would not be called on that day and they had to come back on another day to give their testimonies.

As a result of the first judgment, the judgment in the lady judge’s court also went parallel to the first judgment and thus I got justice in the second court also. By that time the lady judge changed and the Honorable Judge Shri Gopalakrishnan Nair wrote the final judgment on 16th June 1993 (Case number: O.S.No.5/1990). The claimants did not pursue their third and fourth cases and they were dismissed automatically.

 

 

Several small judgments in Canada

 

The first one involved a dentist. My wife had a one-tooth denture and it fell down in the sink and got washed away. She went to a dentist in the nearby shopping center to replace the denture. He quoted a price of $64 for the denture and for removing some claimed “black spots” from other teeth. She called me from the dentist’s office and I agreed the price of $64 over the phone. He did the work and then sent me a bill for $114. I sent him a cheque for $64, the amount promised over the phone, and in a covering letter I told him that the promised amount was $64 and I was sending the promised amount in full. He did not cash the cheque but instead sent me a lawyer’s notice saying that unless I paid $114 plus the expenses for his lawyer’s notice within 24 hours he would take me to small-claims court, and he returned my cheque. I sent back the cheque with another note, repeating my original statement. As promised, he filed a case against us in a small-claim court. My wife had to appear and she stated the truth as it happened. I had engaged a lawyer, designated to us by my University. The judge asked the dentist whether he used to reduce the bill amount when he found that his clients were poor and could not pay. He said that he used to do that. He asked in that case whether he used to inflate his bills when he found that his clients were rich and could pay. He admitted and the case was dismissed with our cost also against him and the judge ordered him to cash my cheque for $64 if he wanted. He cashed the cheque.

The second was involving a building tax assessment. My building tax was assessed too high in one year. The process involved filling up a form and making a complaint to the city office. Then a judge would hear all the complainants one day. We were all seated in a school classroom on a Sunday when there were no classes. This school was made a courtroom for that day. The judge started calling the cases one by one. It went according to the last names of the complainants. There were about 60 complainants. The first one with his last name starting with the alphabet “A” was called. He claimed that a same model house was sold in his neighborhood for lesser value than city’s assessment of his house. The judge dismissed that argument. Another one said that the same model house was listed in his neighborhood for sale and the asking price was less than the city’s evaluation of his house. The judge dismissed that also. For a common man, all these arguments were logically sound arguments and the judge was dismissing one by one. Since my last name started with “M” I had a lot of time to hear others’ arguments and I found that others used all the points that I thought of using and the judge dismissed all. Then I had to come up with something different. There was once an incident of a rat coming into our house. My wife took the garbage can from the garage to inside the house and put new garbage into the can. Then a rat, which was in the can, jumped out into the house and it was sitting at the fireplace. She tried to poke it with a broom handle and it was giving a menacing look and my wife got frightened. She called the police. The police came immediately. They were afraid to attack the rat because the rat could bite and the rat might have rabbis. Finally one policeman took his gun and shot the rat. When my turn came to put up an argument I explained the story and said that after the establishment of a grocery store at the next street my street had become rat-infested and thus the property value went down in the whole neighborhood. The judge bought my argument and reduced my taxes by a big amount. Thus, I was the only one whose property tax was reduced by that judge on that day. The city immediately refunded the excess tax. But later I found that my success was short-lived. In the next year the same inspector put up my taxes by the normal increase of that year plus the amount refunded to me by the city office the previous year. I decided to file a second appeal. Then I found that for a second complaint about the taxes I had to go to the main court, which they called the “Superior Court”, for which I had to employ a lawyer. I found that employing a lawyer would be foolish because even if I won the case the lawyer’s expenses would be more than the tax reduction and hence I did not pursue further. Thus, I learnt a lesson that fighting the city office for tax reduction was a futile process in Canada. The only consolation was that, unlike the situation in Ernakulam, Kerala, India, the tax increase had nothing to do with lack of bribe for the tax inspector.

The third case involved ragweed. Three of us from India bought 5 standard size-building lots in a township near Montreal and we got them re-divided into three bigger lots to build bigger houses. I used to come to India in April and used to spend up to August every year to look after the Centre for Mathematical Sciences at Trivandrum, Kerala, India. During one such year, a city inspector went around in June and found ragweed in one of the lots. The pollen of ragweed was supposed to give allergies to some people and hence ragweed was banned from the city limits. It was the responsibility of the owner of the lots to remove ragweed from his property. The inspector could not figure out who owned which part of the long lot. He looked into the records and found a long Indian-sounding name that was mine. The other two names were north Indian names, one sounded French and the other sounded Italian. Mine definitely sounded Indian and the inspector decided to charge me with ragweed and sent a registered notice to my house asking me to remove the ragweed from my lot. It was in June when I was in India. My wife went to the lot and checked and found that there was no weed of any sort in our lot. She should have sent a registered letter back saying that there was no weed on our lot. But she kept quiet. When I came back to Montreal in August, there was a notice from the “Superior Court” to appear before the court for ignoring the inspector’s order and not removing the ragweeds from my lot. Immediately I went and checked and found that there was no ragweed on our lot but in fact people had dumped extra soil and the whole lot had only fresh soil on it. I explained exactly what happened. I also pointed out that the inspector’s final charge sheet in the court was that there was ragweed in July on my lot but his inspection report was of June and not of July. This inconsistency did not matter to the judge and the judge said that since I was in India in June I could not say that there was no ragweed in June or July and hence he fined me the minimum fine of $80. I paid the fine. Here the judge was wrong on facts, the inspector was inconsistent in his case, but judge’s logic was correct and he ignored the fact that my wife verified that there was no weed in June since my wife did not come to the court to testify. If we thought that it was necessary she would have come to the court to testify. Thus, on technical ground the judgment was against me and I have no complaints about that judgment.

The fourth incident in Canada was a near brush with the courts, again in Montreal, Canada. We had a country place about 80 kilometers away from the city. It was a big property of over 100 acres of land on a lakefront and another 20 acres of land nearby. I had put up a big winterized house at the lakefront. We had about 1500 feet of lake frontage and the only stream flowing out of the lake was entirely through our property. We had cleaned out the stream of all debris so that we could take our canoe through the stream also. The lakefront had a lot of bushy and swampy areas. I hired clay-digging machinery and cleaned the lakefront, dumped the clay onto the land, put sand over the clay and made into a beautiful beach. I made a little marina type extension also where I could anchor our canoe nicely, plus children could jump into the pool area from this marina. We enjoyed the beach for a few weeks. Then I got a legal notice from the Quebec Government in Canada charging me with all sorts of crimes and asking me to put back the lakefront as it was before and that they were considering to impose a huge fine also. I did the cleanup after seeing the local people doing similar operations on the other side of the lake. Those were only 50 feet or 40 feet frontage. Mine was a large-scale operation spending nearly $10,000 in those days. The government notice also contained satellite photographs of the machine doing the clay-digging operation at the lakefront in my land. In any case I was not going to deny it because I had done it and everyone there had seen the operation. I never knew that it was illegal to do so. The people at the opposite side of the lake also did illegal things in cleaning up the waterfront. Since those were small operations the government agency decided to forgive them and wanted to punish me to the maximum so that it would be a lesson to others. My mistake was an innocent mistake out of ignorance. But there was no way to escape from the heavy fine. Immediately I dismantled the marina and put the clay back to the lake. Of course I could not bring back the brushes and the swamps. There was one projection of a road-end when we bought the land. That projection became prominent when the place was cleaned up. I wrote back apologizing for the mistake out of my ignorance and saying that the marina was dismantled and the lakefront was restored. I was asked to dismantle the road-end also, for which I replied saying that I did not make that road and it was there when I bought the land but after clearing the brushes the projection became prominent. An inspector came to check and all neighbors there testified that the road-end was there, and the previous owner, who was the only medical doctor in the whole area, made it. He was a very prominent citizen and the lakefront dirt road was also named after him. He passed away and I bought the estate from his widow. But still the inspector was going to recommend a huge fine as originally planned by the government agency. I figured out that if they imposed the fine then I would be paying that fine all through my life and major part of my savings or probably the whole savings would be wiped out every year. At this stage I had no way out and then I decided to play the race card. There was no racism there but jealousy was definitely there and I could see jealousy in the inspector’s eyes but racism was the only weapon left for me at that time. I was the only foreigner on that lake and also an Indian from India, a “visible minority”. A Superior Court judge also had a cottage on that lake and we were good acquaintances for a long time. I went to him and explained what happened and requested for his help and presented the version that I was singled out because I was a “visible minority” and people on the other side also did the same thing, which he had already seen before, but they were not prosecuted because they were local citizens. I also added that either it was racism or it was out of pure jealousy. I had the biggest property on that lake, the biggest country house and the choicest location and thus naturally almost everyone was jealous. The judge assured me that there was no racism involved and he would ask the concerned people to drop the case. He did and I escaped from the huge fine.

 

 

The first judgment on one of my own cases at Ernakulam

 

After filing the eviction suit O.S.No.103/2000 in the Sub Court at Ernakulam, Kerala, India, Homer, my advocate at that time (not the real name) filed an I.A.No.1050/2000 in the main suit. This I.A was to obtain an injunction against the defendants from entering any room, other than the three rooms, which were allowed to be used by them. A temporary injunction was granted. Then Homer filed another I.A.No.1799/2000 requesting the court to direct the defendants to use the south side courtyard and not to use the front door of the house, while, theoretically at least, an injunction order prohibiting them from using the living room, which naturally covered the front door also, was in force. This second I.A was in contradiction to the first I.A. Homer told me that all the I.A’s would be decided at the time of the final judgment of the main eviction suit because one of the prayers there was a permanent injunction against the defendants. Then when the defendants lined up one of the notorious advocates to represent them, replacing their original advocate, the new advocate, let me call him Advocate Nathuram (not the real name), filed an I.A.No.5210/2000 in my eviction suit praying for a permanent injunction against me from entering my house etc. Homer laughed at it and said that the defendants had no right to file an I.A in my suit and that I.A would be automatically rejected because it was for an injunction order against the true owner of the house. Homer said that in any case all the I.A.’s would be decided only at the time of the final judgment in the main suit. Logically it made sense also because without first deciding on the ownership and the status of the defendants in my house, that is, without deciding on the main case, no meaningful injunction orders could be passed.

Then the judge changed and a new judge named Sri V.K. Kesavan, B.A., LL.B., came to the court as the Principal Sub Court Judge. This judge decided to hear all the I.A.’s together and pass orders, even though the defendants had not filed their written statement detailing their claims in my house, if any. This was against all assurances from my advocate Homer that all the I.A’s would be heard only along with the trial of the main case. This decision of the judge to hear the I.A.’s was possibly due to pressure from the new crooked Advocate Nathuram the defendants had hired. I was abroad and I was shocked to hear that the new judge decided to pass judgments. By this time I had filed some 37 documents in support of the main eviction case, including certified copies of sales deeds of the land purchased in my name, establishing my exclusive ownership of the land, all details about the construction of the building, building permit issued in my name, approved plan of the building in my name, copies of property tax receipts, corporation tax receipts, all in my name, notarized copies of the bank passbooks of my NRE accounts with the State Bank of India showing the source of funds for the construction of the building, certificate from St Thomas College Palai showing that the first defendant was a peon there from 1950 to until his retirement in 1980, copy of the 4th defendants’ school leaving certificate page showing that his father was a peon at St.Thomas College Palai, certified copies of letters of the 3rd defendant Paanchaali to her husband John, nullifying all their claims in their affidavits etc. Meanwhile the defendants filed copies of altered ration cards where I was listed as the head of the family, copies of passport pages of the 3rd and 4th defendants showing that they took passports while staying in my house, copies of voters list showing that their names were in the voters list while staying in my house, sales tax receipts showing that the 4th defendants paid some sales tax from my house address for some claimed business ventures, registration slips of firms registered by the 4th defendant while staying in my house and finally five letters that I had written from Canada to the 3rd defendant directing her to disburse some funds to the building contractor from the funds that I had entrusted with her when I was abroad for two three months periods while the house construction was in the final stages.

 

 

A heavily biased judgment

 

On 14th February 2001 the Principal Sub Judge, Ernakulam, Kerala, India passed a common judgment on I.A. Nos 1050/2000, 1799/2000 and 5210/2000 in O.S.No.103/2000, dismissing my two I.A.’s and upholding the defendants’ I.A., and asking me to open up all doors leading to the living room for the use of the defendants and to hand over one set of keys to the defendants. This is in effect asking me to open up the whole house for the use of the defendants because from the living room, access is there to all other places in the house! Remember that my first advocate Homer had stated categorically that all the I.A.’s would be heard only at the time of the final hearing of my eviction suit and that the defendants had no right to file an I.A. in my suit and that their I.A. would be automatically rejected etc. This judgment was at a stage when the defendants had not even filed their written statement or their claim or affidavit in the main suit. The Honorable Judge admitted that the title deeds with regard to the plaint schedule property were in the name of the plaintiff (me). He also admitted that all other relevant documents such as building plan, building construction permit etc were in the plaintiff’s name and the tax receipts were also in the plaintiff’s name. The Honorable Judge wrongly stated: “according to the plaintiff, the 1st defendant was an Assistant Librarian”. This was not true because this was a contention of the defendants. The plaintiff always stated the true fact that the first defendant was a peon/attender from 1950 till 1980 at St Thomas College Palai and the plaintiff had filed supporting documents (certificate from St Thomas College Palai) also and these documents were before the same court. The Honorable Judge says: “However the fact that the defendants have some properties and a rubber nursery at Palai and they have sold the same before they shifted to Ernakulam is not in dispute between the parties”. This is utterly false and exactly opposite to the facts and evidence in the court. The plaintiff always contended that the defendants were destitute at Palai and they had no rubber nursery or any such holdings. They were challenged to produce any piece of document to show that they had any type of holding or assets at Palai and they could not produce any but the Honorable Judge stated exactly the opposite. The Honorable Judge misquoted out of context from the plaintiff’s letters to the 3rd defendant as follows: “I am pleased to hear that Dayanandan (the contractor) has finally started the work on the house” as if it was the beginning stage of construction. It was on record in the court that the construction work started in December 1984 and by October 1985 the construction was over, except some finishing work. The letter was referring to restarting the work after the contractor stopped the finishing work for a while. The Honorable Judge quoted: “Don’t give more that 10,000 at each time” then he omitted the very next sentence that “The money is put under your care”. The Honorable Judge quoted bits and pieces from the letters such as “I am happy to note that Rs 10,000/- is given to Dayanandan” but he did not give any importance to other parts of the letters such as “The money is put under your care. Hence you must go and give the money yourself to either Mr.Dayanandan or his wife” which clearly showed that she was given instructions about how to disburse the funds, which was entrusted with her and put in her bank account, to the contractor when the plaintiff was abroad. The Honorable Judge concluded from these letters that the defendants had contributed their funds for the construction of the building! When she claimed that the 1 st defendant had some land and it was sold and obtained Rs10,000/- (this was a lie which was proved later in 2002 by documentary evidence) I had written that I was pleased to hear that and instructed them to keep the money for themselves. When she wrote later saying that 10,000/- was also given to the contractor (this was a lie which was proved to be a lie in 2002) I had written stating: “When I come back I will be returning that 10,000 also” (letter of 2 nd April 1986), indicating clearly that whatever they claimed to have given to the contractor from their imagined land sale fund, were returned to them. The Honorable Judge quoted extensively from the defendants’ exhibits, mostly out of context or deleting portions that conveyed the message opposite to what he wanted to establish. Then the Honorable Judge concluded: “Therefore it is clear from Exts B1 to B5 letters that the defendants have contributed their funds for the purpose of purchasing to the property and constructing to the building therein”. How could anyone come to such a conclusion unless he was heavily influenced and that he was earnestly looking for something from somewhere to justify the obvious bias? These letters were written long after the purchase of the plaint schedule properties and no mention was there in these letters to those properties either. The plaint schedule properties were purchased in March 1981 and March 1985 and the letters were of October 1985 and later.

Then the Honorable Judge talked about the forged document called “agreement”. As soon as the defendants mentioned about an agreement I had filed affidavits stating that it was a forgery if they claimed that such a thing existed and that they had forged it after March 2000 because they did not mention it in any of their submissions before that date. Their divorce petition (Exhibit A 31) and police protection petition (Exhibit A 49) were all very relevant places to mention and use the agreement if such an agreement existed. If there was an agreement in 1987 then why should I execute a power of attorney in 1994 in favor of the 4th defendant and why should the 4th defendant accept such a power of attorney because they were already owners as per the forged “agreement”. If I wanted to give away my assets all over the world to the defendants, on my own free will and on my own initiative, why should I create an agreement, stating stupid terms, which nobody in the right mind would state? I could have given to them by registered sale deeds. Copies of the power of attorney, divorce petition etc were already the documents filed by then. The Honorable Judge stated: “The recitals in Ext B16 (the forged “agreement”, later marked as Exhibit B6) clearly establish that the plaint schedule property was purchased in the name of the plaintiff utilizing the funds of the plaintiff and 1st defendant. It can be further seen from Ext B16 that the building was constructed with the funds of the plaintiff and the defendants and they are the co-owner of the property and the building and the defendant are in exclusive possession and enjoyment of the same effecting improvements”, all very wild conclusions based on a forged document that was denied outright by the plaintiff. Even a man from the street will not come to such wild conclusions. The Honorable Judge wrote: “Therefore Exts B1 to B5 (letters) and B16 (forged agreement), these documents were not discussed or proved in the courts, will certainly cut the entire rout of the case set up by the plaintiff” as if all ownership papers of mine, building permits and all tax receipts in my name etc had no value at all in his court of law!

For the sake of argument, suppose Jack had spent Rs 10,000/- in a building in the name of Jil and costing Rs 13 lakhs. How could Jack become a co-owner of Jil’s land and building? From a common man’s point of view the maximum claim of Jack would be that Jack could ask for the return of Rs 10,000/- from Jil. The Honorable judge says: “I have no hesitation to hold that the defendants have made out a good prima facie case that they are the co-owners in possession of the occupation of the plaint schedule property and the building therein and the plaintiff has changed the locks …”, when it was proved that the defendants had changed the locks in the plaintiff’s house when the plaintiff was out of station. The Honorable Judge continues: “So the balance of convenience is also in favor of the defendants”, and then says that the plaintiff had not approached the courts with clean hands and he had taken law into his own hands and changed locks. (This is regarding replacing the locks in his own house when the original locks were removed by the squatters and installed their own locks).

This judgment shattered my faith in the fairness of the judicial process in Kerala. This was reconfirmed when the District Court and the High Court dismissed the appeals to quash the judgment of the Principal Sub Court judge. The failures in the District Court and in the High Court were mainly due to the inefficiency of the advocates that I hired to file the appeals. All the people who had seen sub court’s judgment unanimously stated that nobody could pass such a judgment unless he was under heavy influence.

The readers may be aghast by this time, seeing the type of justice in Kerala. I took early retirement from Canada in January 2000, started major repair work on my house with the hope of settling down in Ernakulam and spend my retired life peacefully at Ernakulam. But by September 2001 the courts had given to the squatters exclusive use of a major portion of my house and the control of the front and back doors thus controlling the access to every part of the house. By this time the Sub Court in Ernakulam had made a remark that I took law into my own hands, which was repeated by the District Court while dismissing my appeal. The District Court went further and made an insinuation that the squatters’ stay in my house was “not gratuitous”. This was the net result of going to the courts in Kerala to evict the squatters from my house! If I had continued with my original Advocate Homer and the second team of advocates then by 2002 I would have been out of my own house through various orders by the courts in Kerala, resulting from my own suit to evict the squatters from my house. Then I would be compelled to fight my own case by staying outside of my house. This is the type of situation still prevailing in Kerala. Selection process of judges in India is mainly to blame.

 

 

First judgment in the eviction suit

 

By God’s grace a learned and unbiased judge came to the second additional Sub Court, Ernakulam, where the eviction suit was being heard. After several delays, the details of which were given earlier and it should be specifically mentioned here that none of the delays was due to the fault or inaction of the Honorable Judge, the suit was finally decreed on 8th January 2003, nearly 3 years after filing the original suit. My own advocates as well as all other advocates stated that it was a great victory because a civil suit was decreed in three years because usually such a suit took about 20 years in Kerala. Usually what happens is that the plaintiffs die out by that time and the crooks eventually win if the plaintiff’s heirs are not efficient to conduct the cases. In English there is a saying that “justice delayed is justice denied”. This is one hundred percent true in Kerala and I am told that it is the same situation elsewhere in India as well.

My eviction suit O.S.No.103/2000 of the Sub Court at Ernakulam was heard in the Principal Sub Court and the Honorable Judge Sri N. Anilkumar, B.Sc, LL.B, of the Principal Sub Court, Ernakulam on 8th January 2003, pronounced the judgment. The Honorable Judge had gone into the case in detail. He allowed everything that I had asked for except two items. I had asked for Rs 5,000/- per month rent from the defendants from the day the suit was filed. The Honorable Judge stated that I put the defendants there and the problem was my own creation and there was no itemization of the Rs 5,000/- amount and hence he did not allow that. Then there was a request for permanent injunction but that was substituted by “vacant possession” in the amended plaint. This permanent injunction was disallowed saying that it was time-barred because when Advocate Homer made the original plaint he did not state that after giving the notice to the defendants in January 1996 I allowed them to continue because of their request for a few more months’ time. This was the fact. Such time was granted until 1999 then up to the filing of the suit. This fact was not mentioned and hence apparently the time limit for filing the suit was three years if the permission to stay was not extended but the suit was filed 4 years after giving the first notice to vacate, and hence time-barred. Judging from all the sequence of steps that Advocate Homer took and the various incidents, it could be safely concluded that Homer did not include such a statement purposely. When the Honorable Judge allowed the request for “vacant possession” then the permanent injunction was superfluous. (It should be specifically mentioned here that the major defect in the plaint that the prayer of permanent injunction was time-barred was not noticed by any of the advocates until Advocate O. Ramachandran Nambiar came to the scene.) Our cost was also allowed against them and their cost was charged to them. Their counter claims were all disallowed. The Honorable Judge quoted extensively from the defendants’ testimonies and then answered them one by one. Their whole argument could be seen from the judgment itself. In all respects this was a beautiful judgment. I made inquiries about this judge and found that when he was at the Law College studying he was a “bookworm” and the most studious type and hence he knew the civil matters properly. The selection process should be such that such knowledgeable persons should be appointed as judges so that proper justice will be carried out in India.

The defendants filed an appeal directly to the High Court, Ernakulam, as A.S.No.208/2003. When the appeal came for admission there was a good panel of two Justices (Division Bench). It was to be heard in a Division Bench, meaning a panel of two Justices. Since it was a first appeal the appeal would have been automatically admitted. But at the admission stage, I pointed out the real situation in my house that I built my retirement home by spending all my life-savings from 1964 to 1986. My only mistake was that I brought the defendants from Palai out of compassion and put them as my servants and caretakers of my house. The lower courts had given them exclusive use of my kitchen, storeroom and work area. As a result, I had to eat all my food from restaurants outside in the city in my old age at the risk of my health and my servants enjoyed my fully equipped kitchen and lived in my own house as kings, enjoying five-star accommodation. During strikes and hartals (forced closing of shops and forced stoppage of vehicles on the roads by unlawful elements in the name of political agitations or the so-called labor union demands) in the city, which were very frequent in Kerala, I had to go without foods because all the restaurants would be closed on such days. Hence I requested the Honorable Justices to order the immediate eviction of the defendants from my kitchen sector before admitting the appeal. The squatters could use the kitchen in the servants’ quarters behind the main house. The Honorable Justices, Mr. Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Mr. Justice K. Padmanabhan accepted our argument and ordered the defendants to be evicted from the kitchen sector immediately. After a repeated order and after ordering to engage a Court Amin (the court-appointed fellow with authorization to throw out the culprits by using force if necessary) to throw them out, they finally vacated the kitchen and storeroom after destroying the kitchen and removing all the items from the well-equipped kitchen, incurring a loss of over Rs 2 lakhs to me.

 

 

Another judgment in a money suit

 

As mentioned earlier, that I had given over Rs 4 lakhs to Dushtan on various occasions to start various businesses so that he could be self-supporting and take out his parents from my house. Apparently there was a time limit of three years to demand the return of the money. I did not know about the time limit and hence by 2000 almost all amounts were time-barred except the loans to them in 1999. In 1999 when I was a Visiting Professor at the University of Texas at El Paso, USA, Paanchaali and Dushtan called me over the phone and cried saying that Paanchaali’s foreigner husband John stopped sending money for the expenses of Paanchaali and her children and they had no money to buy even food and there was no money to buy children’s school uniform etc and asked for an emergency loan to be repaid when John came back to India in a few months’ time. Believing their story I called my bank, State Bank of India, at Ernakulam, India, and cancelled one fixed-deposit and released Rs 20,000/- as an emergency help. When the term deposit was cancelled I lost 1% interest on the whole deposit as per the condition of the term deposit. Since I did not have any contact with John, Paanchaali and children, when they were in Canada, I could not verify the story with John in Montreal Nord, Canada. I did not have his address or phone number. Then when I reached Ernakulam they repeated the same story and I bought school uniforms for the children, paid for the school fees of their son, spent several thousands of rupees for all their expenses and gave a cheque of Rs10,000/- to cover the expenses until her husband John reached back to India in a few months time. Thus, there were Rs 30,000/- loan based on proper documents, a faxed message and a cheque. But when John came to India by the end of December 1999, I came to know from John that he was sending money regularly at the rate of Rs 10,000/- per month and Dushtan and Paanchaali were telling absolute lies and were doing fake cries over the phone when they asked for emergency loan from me. Hence I filed a suit as O.S.No.1276/2000 to recover Rs 30,000/- from them because for the remaining money spent as cash, this was around Rs 15,000/-, there was no documentary evidence.

This case was filed in the Munsiff’s Court at Ernakulam since it was a small amount. The performance of my advocate, the “chief” in my third team, named Naarad (not the real name) was abysmal during the trial. Apparently it was the very first time that he was handling a civil case in a court. The bank manager was called in as a witness to mark the certified copies of the faxed message and the cheque. The bank manger came with the originals, as it was customary. But the “chief” never asked the bank manager to show the originals to the Honorable Munsiff so that the certified copies could be marked as court records. As a result, the documents were not marked. But the Honorable Munsiff Sri M. Nanda Kumar, B.A., LL.B., Principal Munsiff, Ernakulam, on 16th December 2002, allowed the Rs 30,000/- plus interest and my cost. He did not count the documents but the defendants’ argument was that if they received the amount then it was a gift and nobody came to the witness stand because if they came and lied then the documents were there to catch them red-handed for perjury. Thus, this was another good and just judgment. The Honorable Munsiff also allowed “attachment” of the building plot that I had given to them for building their own house, as a guarantee for the Rs 30,000/-, its interest and my court costs.

They made an appeal to the District Court at Ernakulam. After several delays, perpetuated by the defendants, the appeal was finally heard before a very good judge. The Honorable Judge Sri A.K. Joseph, B.Sc, LL.B., II Additional District Judge, Ernakulam, on 31st July 2003, dismissed the appeal and awarded to me the original Rs 30,000/-, its interest, the original court cost in the Munsiff’s Court and my court cost in the District Court. They made an appeal to the High Court. The appeal was sitting in the High Court while writing this note in 2005. One can imagine the process of Law in Kerala. Even for recovering a small amount, with proper documentation, the money is not recovered even after nearly 6 years through the courts and cost for the litigation so far exceeded the loan plus interest. [Finally, the Honorable High Court decreed in my favor].

 

 

The judgment on a fully fabricated criminal case

 

Dushtan made a fully fabricated criminal case against me with the help of Kalamassery police. The case stated that I tried to molest Paanchaali with the help of my day watchman on 3rd July 2002 at 3.30 pm at the front gate of my house and there were 7 “witnesses” who testified that they all saw the molestation. Remember that Paanchaali was my servant and she was in my house from 1986 until her marriage to John in 1992 and for nearly six months every year in my home from 1992 onwards and, according to police and Dushtan, I decided to molest this mother of two children with a slightly hunch back with hanging bosoms and fat belly, who walked by placing the feet sideways, in July 2002, and that too at the front gate of my house! At 3.30 pm on that day I was not even in Ernakulam. I was near Palai about two hours away by car and there was documentary evidence to substantiate this fact. Due to over enthusiasm on the part of the police, to show gratitude to Dushtan and Paanchaali for the favors received from them, the police committed a series of mistakes and contradictions while fabricating and filing the case. The case went up to the summons stage at Aluva Court, the criminal court in my jurisdiction in Ernakulam. The next step was arrest warrant. At this stage I came to know about it by chance. The files were taken from Aluva court and a case was filed in the High Court as Crl M.C.1473/2003 to quash the proceedings against me in the criminal court. This was the case, the filing of which was delayed and delayed by Advocate Narad, the chief of my third team of advocates, hoping that I would be finally arrested thereby creating an emergency situation and a chance for him to maximize his income by extracting a huge amount from me. I had written about it earlier that finally I filed the case through Advocate O. Ramachandran Nambiar, who also argued the case in the High Court. The Honorable Mr. Justice G. Sasidharan, on 18th March 2003, quashed the CC1555/2002 of the Aluva court and also made adverse remarks about the misuse of the process of law by the Kalamassery police. The contradictions in the police case were sufficient to quash the proceedings because it was crystal clear that the police fabricated the case. Such quashing used to be done only very rarely by the High Court.

All the advocates were quite pessimistic about the outcome of that suit because quashing of the CC number was very rarely done, and besides, apparently there was a Supreme Court direction that quashing should be done only very sparingly. When the Honorable Justice set aside the case for judgment, after the hearing, almost all advocates claimed that the judgment would be against me because the Honorable Justice did not ask any question to the public prosecutor. Apparently it was customary to ask the public prosecutor about his opinion in such police cases. I was optimistic because if the Honorable Justice wanted to dismiss my petition he could have done so in one sentence at the end of the hearing and he did not have to set it aside for a judgment. My optimism turned to be correct.

When I realized that the local police had framed a fully bogus criminal case against me in order to return the favors received from Dushtan and Paanchaali I filed a formal complaint with the DGP (Director General of Police) at Trivandrum requesting him to punish all the policemen at Kalamassery police station who participated in the fabrication of the criminal case and to dismiss the two of the key players, one Sub Inspector and the Station Writer (Office Manager), from the Police Force. Then when the judgment came I sent a copy of the judgment to DGP and again repeated my earlier request. As a result, all the policemen at Kalamassery station, who were involved in the fabrication, were transferred out of Ernakulam area as per the information supplied to me by the local Assistant Commissioner of Police, the person who was heading the inquiry. Imagine the situation that if the Hon High Court had not quashed the CC then when the case came up at Aluva Court I would have to go and stand in the box meant for criminals. The opposite party could argue successfully that the High Court did not quash the CC because the High Court believed that a punishable offense was committed. The odds would be far against me and a conviction was very likely and then I would end up with a “criminal record” with far-reaching disastrous effect all around, on my career, on my standing in the field, on my life itself. Crooks in collusion with the local police can do a lot of harm to law-abiding citizens in Kerala. This is the real situation. Take my own case as an example. If the Hon Justice Sasidharan did not quash the CC then the conviction on a fully fabricated case was more or less certain.

In this connection I would like to share the real-life experience of a poor man from near Ernakulam. When the contractor’s men filed 4 bogus cases in 4 different courts to extort Rs 2 lakhs from me and when the news was around that the notorious lawyer in Ernakulam was behind it, a man from near Ernakulam came to see me. I had mentioned about this event of the contractor’s men filing cases against me earlier. This notorious lawyer, let me call him Advocate Moon God (not the real name) was credited with fabricating false cases on behalf of the same contractor and winning all the cases without exception. I was the 187th victim as per the news circulating. After hearing all these, this poor man came. Let me call him Mathew (not the real name). Mathew had a license to keep a gun (revolver) and he had one. Advocate Moon God came to know about the registration number of this gun. An enemy of Mathew wanted to fabricate a case against Mathew. He went to Advocate Moon God with the request to fabricate a case and successfully prosecute Mathew. With the piece of information abut the registration number of Mathew’s gun this Advocate Moon God fabricated a criminal case saying that so and so was threatened my Mathew with the gun having such and such registration number. A non-bailable case was made. Then the local Superintend of Police (SP) was bribed heavily. The SP came and arrested Mathew and put in police jail and subjected him to all forms of inhuman tortures including sodomization and mutilation of his private parts, and finally Mathew was convicted of the crimes as per the case files and sent to jail. After the jail sentence was over he was an outcast from society and his life was fully ruined. That was the time when he came to warn me that if I had license for a gun then never reveal the details to anyone and gave me the story of what happened to him.

 

 

The judgment on a compensation suit

 

When the defendants broke opened the garage gate and took away my car (Ambassador KL7 A 3136), caused heavy damage to it, broke into my house and changed many locks including the main front door lock in my house, I had to rush back to Kerala after canceling all my international engagements. I filed O.S.No.469/2000 in the Sub Court, Ernakulam, Kerala, India, to recover my airfare, the loss of a non-refundable book of air coupons, the damages to my car and the heavy telephone bills as a result of the defendants’ misuse of my telephone that was installed in my house at Ernakulam. The suit went through various types of delays, change of many judges and finally it was heard before the Honorable Judge Mr. Carpenter (not the real name) Additional Sub Court, Ernakulam, and he pronounced a judgment on 16th December 2003. This is another classical judgment, too obviously biased towards the defendants, in all probability due to influencing.

The original case was framed by my first advocate Homer and hence naturally not properly framed. It had all sorts of loopholes and weaknesses of all sorts. A judge could have easily dismissed the case by simply making use of the loopholes in the plaint itself. But the judgment was based on the testimonies and trying to portray me as a person telling falsehood in the court. This is the worst and the intolerable part of it all. The defendants’ advocate Nathuram (not the real name) tried to confuse the judge by twisting my statements and the Honorable Judge surprisingly fell for all the twists, and quoted all the false and twisted statements made by Nathuram in toto. I had stated that after the second court commission came and verified the fact that the defendants broke into the garage, took away my car and damaged it, and after the special investigator appointed by DIG, Ernakulam, verified the fact that the defendants changed many locks in my house, I had prepared a contempt of court petition, signed it and entrusted it with Advocate Homer before I left for Canada again but Homer did not file the contempt of court petition. Then Nathuram simply stated sarcastically that I had prepared a contempt of court petition in anticipation of the defendants breaking in, and left for Canada on 28th February 2000. I clarified it right away saying that no such situation arose before 28th February 2000 but I was talking about when I left for Canada next time in July 2000. But the Honorable Judge simply quoted Nathuram and said that I prepared a contempt of court petition in anticipation of the defendants breaking in. The Honorable Judge went further to state that Dushtan did not violate the injunction order as if the judgment was written to protect Dushtan. There was no such prayer in the suit to determine whether Dushtan violated the injunction order or not, and the suit was for recovery of damages and not about the violation of the injunction order or for contempt of court.

When Nathuram tried to confuse the judge saying that the air ticket that was lapsed was refundable and they were open tickets and hence there was no evidence that the tickets were kept for the forthcoming conference in Texas, I had clarified it by saying that those were Delta Airline’s Senior Coupons, the conditions were on the coupons, there were only three coupons, since I had used one coupon the remaining had a validity only up to April 2000 and they had no refundable money value and the meeting was to be held in March 2000 and since I had to come back to India in early March 2000, due to defendants breaking in, the coupons lapsed. Further, that they were not open air tickets but coupons which were redeemed at the time of departure for which separate reservations were to be made and hence there would not be any date shown on the coupons. To anyone, it was crystal clear but the Honorable Judge quoted Nathuram and made aspersions on my integrity. I had specifically stated that the coupons were only valid for North America and the three coupons were meant for the flights Montreal-San Antonio (where the meeting was to be held and I had an invited talk), San Antonio-El Paso (where I had to give lectures as prearranged), El Paso–Montreal. The Honorable Judge wrote that I had stated that the coupons were kept for a meeting in France but tacitly admitted that the coupons were good only for North America! This was completely opposite to the facts as well as what was stated in the courtroom.

Another classical biased statement was regarding my departure for Canada on 28th February 2000. Nathuram simply stated that I did not leave for Canada for my official duties but to renew my Indian visa. I had answered saying that for renewing a visa one did not have to go to Canada, one could renew from India itself, I had a five year visa and the visa did not expire anywhere near 28th February 2000. During cross-examination the defendants also admitted that for renewing a visa one did not have to go to Canada. I also filed an affidavit showing the date and place of issue of the visa, date of expiry of the visa, dates of my arrival in India and departures from India in 1999 and 2000 period when Nathuram simply claimed that my visa expired around 28th February 2000. Ignoring my affidavit, in other words disbelieving the signed affidavit of an international scientist and Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at McGill University, Canada, the judge had written up on the case diary ordering me to produce passport pages to show that I had a valid visa around 28th February 2000. This shows the power of influence on the judiciary by crooks and their crooked advocates. This was done after the last date in the court when he stated that he closed the case file and that the judgment would be available by the next Saturday. When we went to hear the judgment on that Saturday, the judgment was not ready, and we were surprised to find that the judge had an order in the diary asking me to produce passport pages. Luckily I had my passport with me on that day. Immediately I made notarized copies of the relevant pages from the courtroom premises and submitted on that Saturday itself and Advocate George went into the chamber of the Honorable Judge and stated that his order came to our attention only on that day and we had submitted notarized copies of the relevant pages on that day itself showing that I had a valid 5-year visa and the next renewal was due only in September 2000. He told George that since there was a petition from Nathuram he had to pass an order and even if we did not furnish the pages it did not matter. Perhaps on that day and until that time he was planning to pass a judgment in my favor but things changed drastically later somehow. Overlooking all these facts the Honorable Judge quoted Nathuram and stated in the judgment that he could not rule out the possibility that I left for Canada to renew my visa.

Another interesting incident occurred during the period of waiting for the judgment. The Honorable judge started postponing the judgment date. Then my advocate decided to submit a copy of a very relevant Supreme Court judgment as part of our argument note or augmented to our argument note. I went to the courtroom with the copy and met the bench clerk and told him that we wanted to submit that copy of the judgment also as part of our argument note. To my dismay, I found that all the documents that we filed were in a bundle on his desktop and our argument note was missing also from the bundle. I searched through the piles of papers around, located the note and put in the bundle. I asked him how come that all our submissions were still on his desktop and not with the Honorable Judge because the Honorable Judge was supposed to be writing the judgment. He told me that the Honorable Judge had not called for them and he would give when they were called for. From the judgment it was clear that the Honorable Judge had not seen any of our documents because, otherwise, it was impossible to make many diametrically opposite statements in the judgment, opposite to the truths and evidence in the court. The judgment was marred with statements contrary to the facts presented in the courtroom and the Honorable Judge awarded me the compensation for the misuse of my telephone and dismissed the airfare part, lapsed air coupons part and damages to the car.

Naturally, we filed an appeal in the District Court to get the three dismissed parts allowed and the defendants filed an appeal asking to dismiss the telephone misuse part also. The District Court’s judgment came in 2005 dismissing my appeal and admitting the defendants’ appeal and charging costs against me also. The pattern that I had seen was the higher courts usually upheld the lower courts’ judgments. In the above case there is possibility that someone had talked to the judge giving a fully biased and horrible picture of me. The judge not only repeated almost all statements made by the lower court, contrary to the documents filed in the court, but went further and made statements such as a person with a brain like me could easily fabricate the whole thing. He even states that the plaintiff (meaning I) is thinking that with a brain like his, he can fool everyone and the judges sitting in the courts are not fools to swallow whatever story that he is making out! Such remarks could not have been made from the documents and testimonies in the court unless someone gave that type of a picture to him and he was boiling with anger against me and feeling great sympathy for the defendants. He went further and brought in all the defamatory statements made by the defendants, which were untrue, unproven and irrelevant to the compensation suit. It appears that he had such a bitter disposition against me for some reasons and he wanted to do a character assassination as well. Nothing else can be concluded by reading all the irrelevant and false materials in the judgment to make me a liar, dishonest and unscrupulous person, capable of giving orders to DySP and DIG of police and a morally bankrupt fellow who filed all these cases as a vengeance against the defendants for turning down my alleged request for sexual favors from Paanchaali. It should be mentioned here that Paanchaali was my peon’s daughter, she was my servant in my house from 1986 to 1992 until she got married, she was married and had a child by 1995, she was either pregnant or about to be pregnant with her second child in late 1995 when the alleged demand had taken place and the revelation of the demand comes in 2000 after I filed my eviction suit. From a layman’s point of view, the natural justice demands that unproven defamatory materials, which are already denied by the accused, are not put in a court judgment even if it is in the form of quotes. Even this basic principle is not followed in this judgment. As a natural course, I made an appeal to the Hon High Court hoping to get justice.

Among all the judgments resulting from my eviction suit O.S.No.103/2000 and related suits, in all probability, one could say that three of the judgments were tainted. The one by the Sub Court, Ernakulam on three I.A.’s, the other by the Sub Court, Ernakulam on O.S.No.469/2000 and the District Court’s judgment on the appeal, could not have been made so biased, questioning my honesty, character and my morals, without being influenced. Even if we assume, for argument sake, that they were inefficient to the core, still such obvious biases could not have been committed through inefficiency alone. Inefficiency alone could not account for the extent of bias and personal attacks in the three judgments. In my opinion, almost all other judgments were quite fair even though some went against me, where the courts were of course wrong in their conclusions, but I have a feeling that the courts thought that they were making correct decisions. Those were lost by me due to the inefficiency of my advocates handling those cases and I will not blame the courts for those losses. I am not complaining about the above three judgments and the corresponding judges simply because I lost those cases. There are several other judgments against me among the more than two dozen judgments in connection with the various cases that I filed and others filed against me in India. I have mentioned some of these already. But the very clear bias and the statements contrary to the evidence before the courts in the above three judgments can only give rise to one conclusion that these were made under heavy influences.

 

 

The need for an independent tribunal

 

There should be a mechanism in the judicial process in India in the form of a tribunal consisting of distinguished academics from law schools where an aggrieved party like me could submit a complaint about a judge or judgment or about a practicing advocate. The present procedure is that if anyone made any comment about a judgment or judge then he could be silenced by “contempt of court” procedures. Thus the unjust procedures and corruption could continue, and judges could give any biased judgments without worrying about the consequences. When a matter is referred to the tribunal it should be kept fully confidential with no access to the press or to the public so that the image of the judges or the public respect for the courts will not be tarnished. If the panel finds the judgment to be biased then such a judge should be immediately removed from the system. If the panel finds the complaint against an advocate correct then that advocate should not be allowed to practice law in India. Local Bar Councils are often inefficient, mainly to protect the interest of lawyers and insufficient to deal with crooked but influential lawyers. If a judgment is correct in every sense then there is logical inconsistency in allowing an appeal against it. If an appeal is allowed then this means that the judgment could be wrong on many aspects, could be biased also in many ways, could be the results of outside influence also, or mistake could be there due to many such reasons. From my experience of the judgment against me asking me to open up my house for the squatters, it is crystal clear that an appeal process is not the right way to correct the injustice. The judgment should be examined by an outside panel consisting of learned people, experts and all unbiased people. Then the aggrieved party can approach this tribunal and present his/her reasons for approaching the tribunal. At the tribunal stage or at the deliberations of the tribunal no advocates should be allowed to be present representing any side, to create bias in the minds of the tribunal. It should be an impartial studied decision.

 

 

Miscellaneous judgments for and against

 

The first judgment against me in Ernakulam was the one passed, ex-parte, by the High Court by awarding temporary police protection against me and John the foreigner husband of Paanchaali. I was told that it was a routine one because any crook could file bogus petitions to police against anyone if the police and the crook are together. Then the crook could collect official copies of all those petitions and could go to the High Court and the High Court would give a temporary police protection against the accused, ex-parte, and the accused would come to know only when the police served him a police protection notice. Anyone reading this from outside India, may wonder what sorts of system is prevailing in India. What happened to me was only a small part of it. Recently, there were newspaper reports stating that a judge in Gujarat State in India issued arrest warrants against the Chief Justice of India and the President of India, ex-parte, without knowing against whom he was issuing the warrants. When the High Court gave police protection against me to the defendants I also approached the High Court and got it quashed and the High Court issued a general direction to police to protect everyone.

The next one was our appeal to the District Court against the judgment of the Sub Court ordering me to open up all doors leading to the living room for the use of the defendants and to hand over a set of keys to them. This appeal was dismissed. Then we appealed to the High Court and the High Court also dismissed the appeal. From this sequence of judgments I gathered that in Kerala, the most important judgment is the trial court’s judgment. Higher courts try their level best to uphold the trial court’s judgment. The next one was that the Honorable Judge Anilkumar passed an order accepting our amended plaint in O.S.No.103/2000. The defendants made an appeal to the District Court, got dismissed, appealed to the High Court, got dismissed. The next two were two cases filed by the defendants in the High Court praying to cancel my electoral identity cards, claiming that I was a foreigner. They were dismissed. The next were the batches of petitions filed by the defendants to break open my house, to entrust them with the keys of my house and put me in jail etc, six cases in two batches of three each, and there was another case asking me to produce my passport in the court and other small petitions by the defendants. These were all dismissed while passing the judgment on the main suit O.S.No.103/2000. I had filed a criminal complaint against the defendants when they broke opened my almirah and stole all documents relating to my house as well as other items. This was “referred away” by the local police. I reinstated it in the criminal court. Finally, Kudilan and Dushtan were arrested on the basis of prima facie evidence against them but in the final evaluation they were let free. When they were let free and when they were coming out of the courtroom, Dushtan told me just outside the courtroom so that everyone could hear that the jails were made for human beings and he was not afraid to spend some time in jail also, meaning that he would continue harassing me and continue committing illegal acts at my house and I would not be able to do anything about it through police or courts. I had filed a criminal complaint against the defendants when they forged the so-called “agreement” saying that I had given them all my assets all over the world, in return for food and shelter in my old age. This was referred away by the local police. I did not reinstate it because my advocate Shri Vijayakumar of the Aluva Court advised me that it was not worth going through another three to five years at the criminal court and then finally there would not be any conviction because in India convictions would be practically impossible in such cases because there were no “eyewitnesses”. Apparently this requirement of “eyewitnesses” nurtures the thriving business of bogus eyewitnesses for hire. The defendants filed a total of 33 cases against me in various forums between March 2000 and March 2004 for the purpose of harassing me, and they were all dismissed but I had to go and defend all of them except some of their petitions to the police because the police never contacted me. The police knew that they were all bogus complaints, filed for the purpose of creating official records so that they could use those records later for some other purposes. I had filed six or seven police cases against the defendants when they destroyed my water pump, set fire to my fruiting young coconut tree, destroyed my furniture, picked mangos from my mango trees in defiance of my watchman’s protest, blocked the entrance to the garage and front door by placing potted plants by transporting them from the back courtyard, beaten and thrown out my first security men, beaten my day watchman etc. The police did not do anything and closed the files after wishy-washy “investigations”.

After Kudilan family’s appeal against the Sub Court’s judgment against them was dismissed, the Kudilan family started resorting to vandalism at my property and issued death threats to me and threat to destroy my house. Pathetically enough, all these threats were made in the presence of police officers who came with Dushtan and asking me to open up the servants’ quarters in my house to the defendants even after a clear judgment from the courts saying that the defendants were trespassers in my house and that they had no right of any sort in my house and properties. At this stage I approached the Hon High Court asking again for a police protection for me against the Kudilan family. The Hon High Court ordered police protection for me and for my properties as prayed for.

 

 

The need for a complete overhaul of the court procedures

 

From my experience with the court procedures in India during the period 2000 to 2005 my opinion is that there should be a full overhaul of the court procedures in India. I can throw light on a limited number of items from my experience so far. There may be hundreds of such points.

On any litigation, indefinite delays should not be allowed. There should not be a situation where by the mutual agreement between the lawyers of the accuser and accused the hearing is postponed each time while the advocates charge their clients for “appearances” in the courts, appearance to postpone the case. The judges must put reasonable time limit on each case at the admission stage itself and time limits for various steps to be taken, such as filing of affidavits, counter affidavits, replies and so on. Such time limits can be easily met if countless unnecessary postponements are not allowed. Also the first stage in the procedure should be an examination of the affidavit and counter affidavit. The opposite side should be given a chance to challenge any sentence in it and if the party cannot substantiate by documentary evidence then such sentences should be removed. This will eliminate the chance of creating wild stories to create biases and prejudices in the minds of presiding judges. Also a certain level of decency and image of the Courts should be maintained in the submissions. Wild statements, abusive and filthy statements should not be allowed in any Court submission. If such things are allowed it tells the world a lot about the culture, standard or level of decency in the country. In my eviction case, the defendants filed utterly filthy statements in each submission and the Courts or judges did not object to the content or language used. Courts should not become a place where anyone can do character assassination of anyone through court submissions. At one stage, I was planning to collect all filthy statements made by the defendants with the blessing of Nathuram, details of character assassination etc from the submissions of the defendants and request the High Court of Kerala and Supreme Court of India to have a ruling on the type of materials that can be put in a court submission but my senior advocate told me that it was a futile move and that only would make me a marked man.

A major one is the concept of “denials”. There is a process by which a person is made to tell falsehood, under oath, in the court. This is known as “denials”. From a common man’s point of view if a person makes a statement in the court it should be his responsibility to substantiate it by documentary evidence. Otherwise such statements should not be allowed to be made to start with and should be deleted forthwith. At the end of a trial there is a procedure known as “denials” as part of the procedure. The plaintiff’s advocate asks the defendant whether such and such thing is true and it is expected that the defendant would tell a lie and say that it was not true, and vice versa. This is a license to tell lies with blessing of the court. “Denials” should be replaced by “challenge to prove”. One party can ask the other party to prove the statement by a challenge to prove. If it is not proved then it should be deleted forthwith.

Another major defect is that the whole judicial process in India has removed “perjury” from the system. The plaintiffs, defendants, their lawyers, witnesses, all could state utter lies in the courts, the judges can see through that they are lies, but no practical procedure is there to take action. As a result, one can hire professional “witnesses” who will tell unbreakable falsehoods in the courts and often the culprits walk away with the help of such witnesses. On the other hand, the real witnesses are harassed by the procedure and a decent and true witness will be highly reluctant to come to the courts. In a criminal procedure, the true witness from the petitioner’s side can be asked to be present in the court on numerous occasions whereas the “witnesses” of the accused need to come only at the very last stage of trial. In civil suits the judges may remark that such and such witness was telling lies but there is no action against the witness or against the lawyer who coached the “witness” to tell lies. If there is a provision that the “witness” is severely punished and the corresponding lawyer loses his license to practice law in India then probably more than 90% of the cases will disappear from civil courts in India. The punishments should not be jail terms because in jails they get better food than what they usually eat, better facilities, plenty of time for leisure and no work at all. Hence the punishment must be in the form of heavy fine, something like a minimum of Rs one lakh for each falsehood and this amount must be shared 50% by the false witness, 25% by the party for whom the falsehood was stated and 25% for the party’s lawyer, who coached the witness to tell the lie. There should be demerit points for the lawyers for each lie and after a fixed number, say 20, the lawyer should be barred from practicing “law”. If the “witness” has no means of paying the fine then the lawyer and the party for whom the false testimony was made must pay that share also and the witness must be given jail term with hard labor as punishment. In my eviction suit it was crystal clear from the documentary evidence alone that the defendants’ witnesses were telling lies and the Hon Judge made remarks also but there was no practical procedure to take action against the “witnesses” or against the advocate Nathuram who coached them to tell lies. In the fabricated criminal case filed against me by the squatters in my house there were supposed to be seven “witnesses”, when there was no outsider present on that day at the time of the claimed incident or at any time.

In the Indian judicial system there are reservations of all sorts. When judges are appointed, caste and creed are checked. If caste-wise reservation is not there then there would be a big hue and cry from the respective castes. This basic principle is against the basic assumption that the judges are supposed to announce fair and unbiased judgments. If this is the reality then there is no need for reservations of any sort when making appointments. In my opinion, the prospective judges should go through several stages of open competitions and tests and then the very successful ones should be appointed. They should not be selected from practicing lawyers, who became “famous” or notorious by twisting facts, committing perjury from beginning till the end and winning cases for their clients. This will guarantee quality, knowledge and produce at least knowledgeable persons and often fair-minded persons becoming judges. In three of the very biased judgments in three of my cases, I was told that the respective judges came through reservations. The grasping capacity was seen to be below the common man’s level. One typical example is the following, there are several such things in the judgments: The defendants’ advocate Nathuram made a twist to my statement. I had stated that I had made complaints at various places about the defendants violating the injunction order and then before I left for Canada I had made a contempt of court petition and entrusted with my then counsel Homer for filing but the counsel did not file that suit and that was how there was no contempt of court suit. Nathuram decided to twist the phrase “before I left for Canada”. I left for Canada on 28th February 2000, then came back on 19th March 2000 when the defendants broke into the house, took away the car etc in violation of the injunction order. After taking various steps about the atrocities committed by the defendants I finally made a contempt of court petition, entrusted with my then counsel and then again left for Canada for the second time in July 2000. Nathuram made a sarcastic statement during the cross-examination that I had made a contempt of court petition before 28th February 2000 before the violation of the injunction order had taken place. I had clarified it immediately saying that before 28th February 2000 no such occasion was there, no violation took place and there was no need for making a contempt of court petition. Then I said that I was referring to my July 2000 departure for Canada. No normal person could make an adverse inference on this point. But the Hon Judge stated in his judgment that I could not be believed because I had made a contempt of court petition before the violation of the injunction order had taken place and I had casually admitted that no violation had taken place before 28th February 2000. Another appeal court judge repeated the same statement and pointed it out as one of the reasons for rejecting my appeal.

 

The judgment in the main eviction case

 

THE FINAL ARGUMENT in the defendants’ appeal A.S.No.208/2003 was over and the Justices reserved the case for judgment. My advocates said that those two Justices would pronounce a judgment fast and that was their usual style. The judgment did not come in the next week and it did not come in the second week. During the second week the junior Justice was on sick leave. On the first day of the third week the junior Justice came back after the sick leave. We expected that the case would be listed on that Monday evening for judgment and on Tuesday the judgment could come. As expected, the case was posted for judgment at 1.45 pm on 6th September 2005. Dushtan knew that the judgment would be against the defendants and that their appeal would be rejected. Hence he did not turn up on 6th September 2005. He used to be there on every day during the argument. My junior advocate and I went in at 1.30 pm. At 1.45 pm, when the court reopened for the afternoon session, the senior justice read the last paragraph of the judgment and stated that the appeal was rejected. The Justices signed and the copy was given to the clerk. Then the defendants’ advocate Nathuram took the copy and read from the beginning till the end. I expected him to hand it over to me. By that time my junior advocate had gone to call our senior because the senior was sitting in another court waiting for a case there. Nathuram did not give the copy to me saying that as per the court rules he could not give it to me but only to my advocate. He gave it back to the clerk. The Justices saw me asking for it and Nathuram not giving to me. The junior Justice told the clerk to give to me. As per rule I could not sit in the court room and read it. Hence the clerk took me to the senior Justice’s chamber. I sat there and read the whole thing. By this time my junior advocate came and read the last portions also. The Justices had not only upheld the trial court’s judgment but also added a lot of materials for fortification and stated that the defendants were deceiving me after receiving all sorts of help from me.

During the trial court’s judgment, Nathuram had come with a petition to get the judgment stayed for three months so that they could make an appeal. At the trial court, soon after reading the judgment he handed over the judgment copy to me as well as served notice on me for their petition for the stay of the execution of the judgment. As mentioned earlier, my advocates were not present in the sub court when the judgment was pronounced. At the High Court also Nathuram might have come prepared with a petition asking for a stay of the execution. But after seeing the mood of the Justices neither he asked for a stay nor he served any notice on me but left the courtroom quietly and outside the court he told my junior advocate that they would be filing an appeal in the Supreme Court. On points of law, there was nothing left to make an appeal to the Supreme Court but their aim was only to delay their departure from my house as long as they could.

We were eligible to get what is known as a “white copy” immediately, which meant a photocopy that could be used for reading and preparing items based on it but it could not be used as an official copy anywhere. Usually official copy would be available only after several days. When we applied for a white copy we found that the Justices had marked the decision for reporting to the newspapers and to the law journals and hence asked the clerks not to release white copy but wait for them to check it again to perfect it for giving to law journals for publication. Later when I got a copy I found that it was a beautiful judgment reconfirming the saying in the countryside in Kerala that “truth and justice will prevail at the end”. The following is the last paragraph of the judgment from which the substance of the judgment is clear:

“In the light of the above discussion, we find no merit in any of the contentions raised by the appellants. We find that it is a clear case where the plaintiff who was trying to help the defendants was deceived and his valuable time and money have been lost in litigation in safeguarding the property, which he purchased with his hard earned money. It is therefore a fit case where the appeal should be dismissed with costs and we do so.”

 

Defendants’ Appeal to the Supreme Court of India

 

MY SENIOR ADVOCATE Mr Nambiar told me that there was no use of the defendants going to the Supreme Court, other than to delay the departure from my house. It was rumored that Nathuram knew some Supreme Court Justices and they could win in the Supreme Court through backdoor business when his friends would be sitting. Hence I had to take an advocate and file a caveat so that if anything was filed then we could know about it. I did not know any advocate who practiced in the Supreme Court. The only person I knew was the second son of my first senior advocate that I took for filling an appeal at the District Court, about which I had already described, the son who spoke at 150 mile per hour speed. The other fellow I knew was a close friend of Nathuram who was practicing in the High Court of Kerala and later shifted his activity to New Delhi. Hence the only choice was to take the second son of my first senior advocate from the second set of advocates that I hired. I sent all materials to him and requested him to represent me in the Supreme Court if they filed any appeal there. Then I heard that they took a very crooked advocate from Palai who was practicing in New Delhi. Their aim definitely was through crooked means to upset the judgment from the High Court of Kerala. Their second aim was to delay the departure from my house thinking that they could drag on the case at the Supreme Court. They even stated in the public that they could drag the case in the Supreme Court for another 20 years and by that time I would be dead and gone. Apparently Nathuram gave assurance to this effect or they made up their own claims hoping to demoralize me and hoping that I would be spending sleepless nights thinking over this scenario.

Their advocate from Palai filed an appeal at the Supreme Court and then manipulated to bring it before a bench which they claimed that they could manipulate. Even if they could manipulate, the judgments from the Sub Court and High Court in Kerala were crystal clear and it would be really impossible to find a loophole to manipulate. At the admission stage my advocate, I will call him Tom, argued successfully not to admit the petition. The Supreme Court did not admit their petition to take it as a case and dismissed their petition.

Soon after I heard the good news, which I was expecting, I contacted our senior Advocate Nambiar about what to do next. In the normal course, I should contact the local police and with their help remove the squatters from my house. I went to Kalamassery police station and requested their help in removing the squatters. The police said that there was do directive from the Supreme Court to Kalamassery police to remove the squatters from my house and until that order came they could not do anything. They even added one more thing. Even if such an order came, it was up to the police to do anything about it. They also claimed that there was a case in Edappally itself that some squatters were still there in a house even after a Supreme Court judgment in favor of the owner of the house.

We moved the local courts again to get them out of my house. Nathuram simply stated in all courts that the defendants were moving out in a couple of days. Meanwhile I filed a case to collect the cost of litigation from the defendants. Usually in such civil cases the plaintiff does not ask for the cost and does not try to collect the cost. The cost according to court’s calculation was Rs 1.2 lakhs only. I had already spent Rs 26 lakhs, without bribing anyone, especially the police. This was the court fees, fees for advocates for numerous appearances, their transportation, food, Court Amin’s expenses, various Commissions’ expenses etc . My personal expenses are not included in this Rs 26 lakhs (about Canadian dollar $52,000). Dushtan’s expenses must have been at least Rs 40 lakhs for his lawyers’ expenses, bribing and entertaining police at various levels, enticing my advocates including Homer and Naarad, perhaps some juniors also, influencing the judges in the three clearly biased judgments etc. He had generated this amount through bootlegging. If he had spent half of that amount in constructing their own house in the lot that I gave them free for erecting their own house, then they could have built a house much bigger than mine in the neighboring lot that I had given to them. But greedy people do not think that way. They wanted my house and all properties also after getting some education through me, after having a luxurious life with five-star accommodation and five-star facilities in my house, after getting a building lot in the prestigious part of Ernakulam, its market value in 2000 was at least Rs 50 lakhs, (Canadian dollar 100,000), all free of charge or without any effort from their part. Paanchaali was willing to sell her two children, train them to become first-rate criminals and she was willing to get rid off a very loving and caring husband, who was really worshipping her, all these with the false hope of capturing my house and for pleasing her brother Dushtan and criminal-minded parents especially her mother Kundi, whose mastermind was behind all their moves and operations. The readers may be wondering what type of people are there in Kerala. These are not typical Keralites, but these are exceptions.

I decided to pursue the criminal case in Aluva Court for attacking my day watchman with bricks, slapping him and chocking him. I put all my energy into the remaining two cases, one for collecting compensation from them and the second one for criminal conviction against Dushtan for the case of attacking my day watchman. There also God came to my help. The Honorable Judge in the Aluva Court changed and a new lady judge came in. This lady was very famous in convicting all criminals whose cases came into her court room. She used to give severe punishments to criminals. It was rumored that her children had bad experiences with criminals and she was bent on wiping out as many criminals as possible from the society and put them behind bars. In our case against Dushtan for attacking my day watchman there was 95% chance that he would be convicted. His lawyer was a very famous or notorious criminal lawyer. If any criminal took him as his counsel then he is sure to get out of the case against him. In my suit against Dushtan for destroying my car, changing locks, and breaking into other parts of my house etc this notorious lawyer was his counsel. On the witness stand, by twisting words from each sentence, he roasted me alive. He called me a liar, a cheat, a man who took law into his own hands, a person who could influence the DGP and the Chief Minister and he argued that I should be given exemplary verdict so that people like me would not harass the “innocents”. The judge gave a judgment as the lawyer demanded and he called me a liar, a person who took law into my own hands etc. That was the worst form of anti-justice in a very genuine case of mine. My advocate at that time was a junior of my first advocate Homer but this junior was a very God-fearing, devoted Christian who was also practicing in Aluva Court because this court was near his residence. Apparently, my advocate and the son of the notorious criminal lawyer grew up together, he told the son the real truth and that I was a very decent and caring individual and what his father did in the Court to me was not justifiable and my curse would there on the whole family. The criminal lawyer’s son came to me and apologized saying he and his father did not know about me and did not know the truth. I told him that I did not want to talk to him or to his father or to anyone from his family. The son must have told his father about hurting me badly in the Court and I was very angry at the whole family. This must have been a reason why this notorious criminal lawyer was not very enthusiastic to argue in favor of Dushtan in the case of attacking my day watchman This time Dushtan’s lawyer advised Dushtan to have a compromise with my day watchman. He knew that in this lady’s court a conviction was a surety. My day watchman told them that he would go for any compromise only if I asked him to do so. Then Nathuram approached me for a compromise. I put the condition that they should first give me court-calculated compensation in my eviction case, the loan of Rs 30,000 for which there was a favorable judgment and they should vacate from my house right away. They did not pay any amount so far and Nathuram was delaying the payments through his cunning delay tactics. This time Nathuram realized that if Dishtan was convicted then his chances of getting fat fees would be finished. Hence Nathuram wanted to negotiate and settle the attack case. Then Nathuram wanted to negotiate on the total amount. I did not yield. Then Nathuram stated that he took the full responsibility of reimbursing the full amount to me but I should ask my day watchman to file a paper claiming “negotiated settlement” because the case was coming for judgment in a few days’ time. I told him that I did not want any guarantee from anyone but only wanted my cash and that too from certified banks with banks’ seal because Dushtan and his team might be dealing with counterfeit money and I did not want to be cheated at the last moment also. They agreed and Nathuram brought the money but short of Rs 8000 saying that they could not raise the full amount in one day. He said his guarantee was there that the defendants would leave my house in a few days’ time and they were looking for a house to rent. I accepted the cash and decided to forgo Rs 8,000. I asked the day watchman to file the paper for negotiated settlement.

But still they did not move out. The “couple of days” became weeks and I was running from police station to courts to evict them. Nathuram was promising that they would be out in a couple of days each time. I had asked one of my nephews to come and stay with me because the squatters could get violent any time and could physically attack me out of their desperation of not able to capture my house. All their advocates and advisors gave 100% chance of winning their case and capturing the house. Apparently Nathuram had certain percentage of the property as his final fee and he was only collecting small amounts as fees during the litigation. I was told that various people in the police and higher ups were promised percentages in my house as their rewards in helping them to capture my house.

Then one day some 18 people came with a truck and started removing things from the rooms they were allowed to occupy. All my furniture and kitchen items ,which they stole, were being removed. Apparently it was a known Muslim goonda group for hire. The leaders, two middle-aged fellows, sat on my sofa in the living room, put their concealed swords, taken out from the sheaths and put on the coffee table and sat there. We were upstairs at the inside balcony watching and I was calling Kalamassery police. Each time I got the stock answer that the police were on the way. I called the flying squad and they also replied that the police were on the way. Then I realized that it was a combined operation by the Kalamassery Police, the flying squad and the crooks from inside my house, the squatters. When the operation started I called my advocates and each of them was also trying to contact the police and they also got the same reply that the police were on the way to the place. I also called my student, the CBI prosecutor. He was also trying to send the police to my house. After finishing about two truckloads they started removing the furniture from my living room. I called the eldest son of my first senior advocate who was a public prosecutor in the High Court at that time, and he called the Law Secretary in Trivandrum. By that time the goondas started bringing long and heavy iron bars into the house to thrash the house and the leaders were giving orders to start thrashing from the rooms soon after the items were removed. The Law Secretary asked the DGP of Police to take immediate action, otherwise my life was in danger. Then one squad of police arrived at the house. Then the goondas with their weapons, the crooks from the house, all left coolly walking out and the police did not do anything, neither they stopped the truck or the men nor they took down their names or anything. They could remove furniture and other items from five rooms and half of the items from the living room, total worth over Rs 5 lakhs by the time the police arrived. Even if I lost the furniture and other items, I was happy that finally the crooks left my house. After they left, my nephew and I changed all locks and locked up the house and servants’ quarters and inspected the rooms that they were occupying. They had destroyed all the cupboards, closets, room doors and even the mosaic floors by pouring some acid or something. I had to hire people to regrind the mosaic and rebuild all the cupboards, room doors and closets with teakwood as I had done in the kitchen sector after I had checked them out from my kitchen sector through the Courts.

Thus, it took full six years to get them out of my house. During those six years I could not do much research work and keep up with my national and international commitments. I lot all academic contacts. Later I had to rebuild with lot of effort. All the people who knew about my fight claimed that it was a miracle, and all the advocates that I came into contact claimed that it was one in a million chance of recovering my house after nearly 20 years of occupation. According to everyone, it was also a miracle that the civil suit in Kerala was finished within six years, the usual time is 20 to 40 years. For this, the credit goes to the first senior advocate that I had taken. Even though he was very inefficient in Court matters he could impress upon the Honorable Judge of the District Court that my time was very valuable and it would be a terrible loss to the future generations if my time was wasted in litigations in the Courts in Kerala. Thus, the Honorable Judge put a time limit to finish the whole case by 2001. Hence it could be finished by 2005.

I heard stories about what happened to the properties of those who were abroad and who held properties in Kerala. All of them, without exception lost their properties either to close relatives or near relatives or to strangers, all by taking advantage of their kindness and trying to help others. Only through determination I could fight single-handedly and win my case. If the squatters were my close or distant relatives then all my relatives would have split into two groups, one supporting the squatters and the other set opposing, and it would have been more difficult to recover the house. My wife and I were planning to give the house and the land free to the same crooks after staying for a few months in my house in 1999-2000 period. My wife would not have stayed more than a few months in Kerala and I would have stayed for a few years at the most and then we would have given the house and land free to the “faithful” servants. But by God’s grace the “faithful” servants showed their real colors in time so that we were not cheated out of our properties. I have the greatest satisfaction that I could win finally by telling only the truths in the Courts even though all the advocates advised me to tell falsehoods at various occasions and on many aspects, otherwise I would lose. Also the attitude that I took, that there would be no negotiation of any sort unless the squatters left my house, also helped to recover my house. If I had fallen into the trap of negotiation then my stand would have been weakened and eventually I would have lost the eviction case. Also at many crucial points God’s help was there. The police and the crooks would have been successful in achieving a criminal conviction against me on a fully fabricated case of molestation of women. One Sunday I felt like going to the police station to meet the new SI. Even though the Station Writer came there to hear what I was saying to the new SI but it helped to confirm that there was a criminal case being actively pursued by the Police and the crooks, against me at Aluva Court. That helped to search out, collect the files and bring to the Honorable High Court to get it squashed. Due to over enthusiasm and over confidence, the police had made several mistakes in their FIRs, otherwise the Hon High Court would not have squashed it and apparently, I was told, that was the third such squashing in the history of the High Court in Kerala. Another miracle or God’s hand was that when we were losing cases one after the other, a learned, decent and straight forward judge came into the Sub Court at Ernakulam, named Hon Judge Anil Kumar, and my case went to him. Only by God’s help I could finally get a senior advocate like Advocate Nambiar, who was a researcher and who knew about civil matters well.

Since my former servants were so ungrateful beyond all imagination, I decided to remove them from my house whatever be the cost in terms of my time, energy and money. This determination and my ability not to worry about things and to overcome the difficulties when I face them rather than worrying about them, helped to keep my sanity. Any other person would have become a mental wreck quarter of the way through the several cases. If I had got my family members or close relatives involved then all of them would have cracked up in the beginning stage itself. Continuous police harassment on behalf of the crooks was really intolerable. Police and crooks together can destroy anyone in Kerala. Their attempt from the beginning was to fully fabricate and airtight criminal case and get a conviction so that I would not be able to come to India, thereby the house had to be abandoned or if I entrusted the house with any relative then they had the confidence to wrest it out of the relatives’ hands by crooked means with the help of the police. Only by God’s grace they did not succeed in achieving a conviction in any fabricated criminal case even though they had fabricated many with the help of the women. The Honorable Supreme Court of India had made several decrees to protect the women but under the cover of these decrees, crooked women like Kundi and Paanchali have a field day to fabricate criminal cases with immunity from any type of reprimand or action against them. My advice to all Keralites abroad who wish to come back to settle down in Kerala or to spend their retired life in Kerala is to forget about it as far as possible. If determined, then do not construct any house and keep it empty or allow anyone to look after it. If you allow your close relatives or distant relatives or strangers to look after your house, strangers with a proper registered contract is the best, then within the first year itself all the neighbors and other relatives are going to tell them that “you are loaded with money, in America (including Canada), in America people get Rs 5,000 per hour for any type of work and this property is peanut for them hence they do not need this property but you the person to whom you entrusted the property) are looking after it spending all your time and effort and you are the right person who needs this property”. Then depending upon the closeness of the person to whom you entrusted your house or property, he or she or they will be looking for an opportunity to grab the property. When you are ready, come and buy an already built new house in an expensive locality and settle down. Now, there are “cottages” in the sense of secluded enclaves of 8 or 10 good quality luxurious houses together, each one with its own land around, which the developers call cottages or villas. Buying one of those will be a good idea and you may not end up in the hands of crooks. Keep in mind that the corrupt police force, crooked and dishonest advocates and the convoluted legal system will be there as a course to Kerala forever.


Cost of Justice in India

This book outlines the grueling experiences I went through as I decided to build a house and retire in the country I grew up in: India. I had hired servants to look after my house while I was in Canada, and soon they made their intentions to steal my house clear. With the corrupt police and lawyers on their side -- and them willing to stoop even to the level of physically attacking me or hiring goons to murder me -- I was put through a torturous, multi-year ordeal that deeply impacted me. It was an experience that I will never forget.

  • ISBN: 9781370747528
  • Author: Dr. A.M. Mathai
  • Published: 2017-05-03 00:05:24
  • Words: 154771
Cost of Justice in India Cost of Justice in India