Fate of Kerala Minister hangs in balance after HC dismisses petition

Thomas Chandy

Fate of Kerala Minister hangs in balance after HC dismisses petition

The fact-finding report by Alappuzha District Collector TV Anupama had confirmed the illegal encroachment.

Congress leaders including former PCC Chief VM Sudheeran and Leader of the Opposition in Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala have expressed their displeasure over the Madhya Pradesh MP's decision to defend Chandy, an NCP nominee in the CPI (M)-led LDF government.

Meanwhile, Chandy is at Kochi and is likely to reach the state capital late in the night to take part in the weekly cabinet meeting held every Wednesday.

After a spate of political volleys that forced the administration to crack down on the state transport minister, it was the turn of the Kerala High Court to come down like a tonne of bricks on the errant minister.

Tankha, who arrived here Monday evening, however maintained that he was appearing on behalf of Chandy in court in his professional capacity as a lawyer.

Mr. Vijayan has received flak for his alleged kid-glove treatment of Chandy despite Alappuzha district collector submitting a report to the government confirming that the minister illegally reclaimed revenue land to construct an approach road and a parking lot for the resort owned by him.

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A division bench of the court severely criticized the minister for such a move, saying that he can not approach the court as a minister and a common man at the same time. "Appropriate decision will be taken at the right time", he said.

The collector should give a hearing to the minister within 15 days, "Justice Raveendran had said".

Chandy had moved the high court challenging the findings of an official probe that said he was guilty of public land encroachment and ecological violations.

The LDF entrusted chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday to take a decision.

Citing procedure, State president T.P. Peethambaran said the ball was in the party parliamentary board's court. Despite the state Congress' attempts to stall Tankha through AICC intervention, he appeared for Chandy on Tuesday, after facing a protest by Youth Congress workers.

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