HC raps Kerala minister in land grab case

HC raps Kerala minister in land grab case

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday rejected a plea by state Transport Minister Thomas Chandy, who had asked the bench to quash a fact-finding report that had confirmed wrongdoing by him in a land encroachment case, ANI reported. Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala said the verdict leaves no option for Chandy but to quit. "Vijayan appears to have stumbled before the "cash rich" Chandy and Vijayan is also now an accused like Chandy as he has failed to ask for his resignation", said Sudheeran. On Tuesday, Vijayan told reporters that he has learned about the court order and is in talks with the NCP leadership. The CPI, the second largest party in the ruling coalition, persisted with a different tone - "When ministers lead parties, instead of parties leading their ministers, we have such unfortunate situations", state secretary Kanam Rajendran said. A decision on Chandy's future in Cabinet is likely to be taken at the meeting scheduled at 8 am.

Despite this furore, the chief minister has said a decision will be taken when the time is ripe-not quite in character when one recalls the alacrity with which he first let go his second-in-command E P Jayarajan and A K Saseendran, Chandy's party-mate from the NCP.

Mr Vijayan said the LDF had earlier chose to entrust him to take an appropriate decision on the matter after looking into all aspects.

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The Congress party in Kerala was put in an embarrassing spot after the party's senior Rajya Sabha member Vivek Tankha, a former Additional Solicitor General of India, appeared as counsel for Chandy.

The probe had found that a lake-side resort run by Chandy in a pristine location in Alappuzha district may have potentially violated environmental laws and encroached upon government land, among other illegalities, while building an approach road and reclaiming a portion of the lake for setting up a parking lot.

A group of Youth Congress activists waved black flags at Tankha and shouted slogans just before he left for the Kerala High Court.

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