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Mammootty denies encroachment allegations

By Chitra Prakash


Chennai : Malayalam superstar Mammootty has denied allegations by the Congress party in Kerala that he had constructed buildings on encroached lands in the hill station of Munnar and Kochi.

In a statement issued from Chennai, where he is shooting for his next film "Pazhassi Raja", Mammootty said: "I do not possess any unlawfully acquired land in Kerala or any other state."

He added that if any lapse had occurred in any land dealings without his knowledge, he was "prepared to return the land without any condition".

The state government authorised large-scale demolition of illegal encroachments in Munnar earlier this month. Over two dozen illegal tourist resorts have been razed since the drive began.

Mammootty has been the target of a Congress campaign ever since he participated in a public rally of the Communist Party of India-Marxist's (CPI-M) youth wing a couple of weeks back.

The veteran actor had addressed thousands of youth who had gathered in Chennai for the eighth national conference of the Democratic Youth Federation India (DYFI).

However, the actor clarified that he had no intention of joining any political party.

"I spoke at the DYFI conference only as an ordinary citizen of India. I did not level any charge in my speech against any particular leader or movement," he explained.

Observers are keenly watching whether Mammootty's statement puts an end to the Congress campaign or on the other hand, if he gets drawn into politics. Film stars in Kerala have maintained a distance from politics, unlike their counterparts in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.