Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the controversial godman of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect, had plans to set up a jungle retreat at Vythiri on the Western Ghats.
He had bought a 40-acre plot within a British-era estate. The plot is over 3 km from National Highway 212 and tucked deep inside the resort country. He came to Wayanad in July 2012 and spent nearly two weeks at Vythiri.
He had reportedly purchased the land to set up a centre of the sect, an ashram and a hospital.
He had acquired permission of the Vythiri grama panchayat to construct the complex and cut many trees at the site. However, the project did not materialise following the intervention of forest and revenue officials.
According to the sale deed, Darshan Singh, a member on the executive committee of the Dera, bought the land from V.K. Zakeer Hussain of Malappuram on November 5, 2012 for ₹2 crore.
Half the plot has wild growth, with a tributary of the Thalipuzha river flowing through it.
The plot was part of the 830.24-acre Eagle Estate, first bought by Thomas Grey Hill of Thomas G. Hill and Company of Manchester in 1872. Mr. Hussain, along with two others, bought 90 acres in 1992.
Visit to Idukki
A Correspondent writes from Idukki: In 2010, Ram Rahim Singh had stayed at a resort at Chinnakanal in Munnar.
Local people remember how a convoy of luxury vehicles, with heavy security, passed through the Kochi-Theni national highway then.
In 2012, he stayed at a resort at Kumarakom and in 2014, at a Wagamon resort.