The land in question, no. 35, Devanampiyatissa Mawatha, Maradana, belonged to Meerania and Company before the acquisition.
Municipal commissioner V.K. Anura and deputy treasurer Merl Ponweera tasked the CMC’s finance committee with returning the land, and that committee has now recommended the matter to be presented to the general meeting.
A group of CMC councilors is planning to return the land, worth around Rs. 300 million, to its past owner by recovering the assessment tax dues plus a fine, with the intention of selling it.
The CMC has acquired the land as per provisions in schedule 8 of clauses 263-264 of the municipal councils act, and a court ruling too, has confirmed its ownership.
There are no legal provisions to return a land acquired by registering with a purchase certificate.
Attempts have been afoot for the past eight years to return the land to Meeraniya Company, which had so far been unsuccessful due to the legal officer and the former municipal treasurer opposing it.
However, the incumbent municipal commissioner, deputy treasurer and councilors are trying to return it with the intention of earning bribes, a top CMC official told SLM.