Kerala HC passes strictures against transport minister Chandy in land grab case
Minister Thomas Chandy’s company had allegedly built a road through paddy fields to connect to a resort owned by him.india Updated: Nov 09, 2017 09:38 IST
The Kerala high court on Wednesday passed strictures against transport minister Thomas Chandy in an alleged case of land-grab and asked the state government why he is being given special treatment.
Chandy’s company had allegedly violated rules to construct a road through paddy fields to a lake resort owned by him in Alappuzha district.
Hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking registration of an FIR against Chandy, a bench of justices PN Raveendran and Devan Ramachandran said that if it was an ordinary citizen, he would have been evicted using bulldozers and cases slapped on him.
All are equal before law, the court said.
The government counsel informed the court that it was probing the charges against the minister and sought legal opinion.
The authenticity of documents produced by the minister on the issue need to be examined before filing a report, it said.
The government also pleaded that no special consideration was given to Chandy.
The court said it will later hear other petitions against the minister together.
With the latest strictures, pressure is mounting on chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan to drop the controversial minister, a nominee of the Nationalist Congress Party.
Last week, a vigilance court had ordered a probe into charges against him that he encroached upon government land and built a road that led to the tourist resort owned by him. Earlier, Alappuzha district collector also submitted a report against him.
The minister had denied the allegations saying there was a concerted move to unseat him.
He said he built the resort 13 years ago and it was not proper to raise these allegations now. He had moved the high court two weeks ago to quash the report of the collector.
An expatriate businessman, Chandy was inducted into the cabinet in last April after minister A K Saseendran resigned in the wake of a telephone sex scandal.
Despite mounting allegations against Chandy, the CM had defended him on several occasions, inviting sharp reactions from the Congress-led opposition.
“The latest strictures are a slap on the face of the government. We hope the CM won’t defend him anymore,” said state opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala.