The row surrounding encroachment and graft allegations against NCP leader and LDF government’s transport minister Thomas Chandy refuses to tail off, with both Congress and BJP now demanding action against the tainted politician.
Asianet News exclusively revealed the various encroachment allegations against Gulf businessman-turned-politician Chandy in a series during the last month or so, though the LDF government refused to act on the issue initially, saying the allegations were baseless.
However, with the situation escalating over the last week or so, CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has stated that the state government will look into the matter and action will be taken against Chandy, if has done anything illegal.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said he will file a complaint with the Vigilance department soon, asking an enquiry against Chandy’s alleged encroachments. Meanwhile, the BJP has demanded the transport minister’s resignation and stressed that they would stage major protests, if he does not step down soon. Even NCP's youth wing NYC has demanded stern action against their leader.
Chandy had illegally acquired the possession of 34 acres of land owned by the Mathoor Devaswom near his ancestral house in Nedumudi near Alappuzha. Despite, the Kerala High Court order to return the property within four months, the minister has managed to retain the same with the connivance of obliging revenue department officials.
Meanwhile, the luxurious Lake Palace Resort in Alappuzha, also owned by the NCP leader, encroached up to five acres into the Punnamada Lake and put a floating fence there. He has also built a road from the main road leading to the resort using taxpayer’s money.
Several files related to the construction of Lake Palace Resort had gone missing from the Alappuzha municipal office last month. Though one of the files pertaining to certain permits mysteriously reappeared on Monday, several files containing the details of sanction given to 16 buildings in the resort are still missing.
Chandy had also purchased five cents of plot each from 51 persons near the Marthandam Lake. The plot was given to the people by the government for free. Despite, the sensitive nature of the place, Chandy has claimed the plot and also encroached upon government pathways.
With assets worth Rs 92.37 crore, Chandy was the richest person to be sworn in as minister in CPM-led LDF government. Even then, he didn’t declare the Lake Palace Resort property worth Rs 150 crore in his affidavit accompanying the election nomination paper.
It is interesting to note that despite such major allegations Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan gave Chandy a clean chit in the Assembly earlier, while CPM state secretary Kodiyeri had called the allegations politically motivated. Even PWD minister and outspoken CPM leader G Sudhakaran was very guarded in his comments against Chandy.
Chandy himself pretended to be very assured when the issue was raised in the Assembly the first time, offering to resign if it is proved that he has encroached on even one cent of land. However, now the tables have turned and the transport minister is no longer confident of making such sweeping statements. Several Congress, BJP and even NCP leaders are now demanding the minister's resignation.