Kerala Minister Thomas Chandy Resigns Over Land Grab Allegations

A report by Alappuzha District Collector TV Anupama accused Thomas Chandy of land grab.

2 min read
Kerala Transport Minister Thomas Chandy, who is facing encroachment charges, leaves his office at Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday.

Kerala’s Transport Minister Thomas Chandy submitted his resignation on Wednesday, 15 November, after facing land encroachment allegations

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had earlier said on Wednesday that a final decision on the matter would be taken after knowing the position of its ally, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

Four ministers of the CPI, the second largest partner in the CPI-M led LDF front, kept away from the cabinet meeting chaired by the Chief Minister to protest the delay in taking action against Chandy, who is facing an encroachment case.

The NCP executive meet held on 14 November had discussed the matter and decided to inform the national leadership about its decision on the issue.

The Chief Minister had dismissed the criticism that he was giving undue time to Chandy to take a decision on the matter.

It is only part of coalition propriety that Chandy and his party were being given time to take a stand on the matter, he said.

The CPI leadership in the state had openly asked Chandy to quit as minister in the wake of allegations of encroachment by his Lake Palace resort at Kuttanad in Alappuzha district.

Chandy’s position turned more shaky after strong observations were made against him by the Kerala High Court, while dismissing his petition challenging Alappuzha district collector’s report which had found large scale violation of land rules by his resort.

Earlier in the day, Chandy and NCP state President TP Peethambaran held a 40-minute discussion with Vijayan at the latter's official residence Cliff House in Kerala on the development.

Chandy, a three-time MLA from Kuttanad, had joined the Pinarayi cabinet in April after party nominee AK Saseendran resigned after a sleaze audio with a woman went viral.

The businessman-turned politician was under attack for the past one month from the opposition Congress-led UDF and the BJP, over charges that the luxury resort at Kuttanad in Alapuzha district, owned by him, had allegedly encroached backwaters and violated land rules.

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday dismissed Chandy's petition challenging the report of the Alapuzha district collector, which had found that large scale violations of Kerala Land Conservation Act and Conservation of Paddy land and Wetland Act had been committed by the luxury lake resort owned by the minister.

(With inputs from PTI)

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