A vigilance court here on Saturday ordered a quick verification on a complaint that Kerala Transport Minister Thomas Chandy has converted land for paddy cultivation into a road leading to his resort at Alappuzha.
The Kottayam Vigilance Court’s order came on a petition from Subhash, the Alappuzha district secretary of Janata Dal-S that Chandy has abused his official powers and caused a loss of Rs 6.5 million to the state exchequer when he converted land that should be used for paddy cultivation.
This is the first time that a court has stepped in after the allegations of land grab surfaced more than two months back.
The plush resort, where the alleged violations have taken place, is located in the Alappuzha backwaters. The Congress-led United Democratic Front and the Bharatiya Janata Party have demanded the ouster of Chandy, who is a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) legislator.
Trouble increased for Chandy after a report by Alappuzha district collector TV Anupama submitted late last month detected violations.
While Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan both inside and outside the assembly has strongly supported Chandy, the Communist Party of India, the second biggest constituent of the ruling Left Democratic Front has taken a position against Chandy.
Asked for his comments on the court directive by media persons in Thiruvanathapuram, Vijayan walked away without any reply.
State police chief Loknath Behra said that once the court order comes, what needs to be done will be done.
CPI national General Secretary Sudhakar Reddy had openly said that Chandy has done wrong, while Leader of Opposition, Ramesh Chennithala of the Congress, who is undertaking a state wide yatra which will reach the state capital on December 1, said by the time he reaches Thiruvananthapuram, Chandy would have quit.
But Chandy’s party colleague and NCP national General Secretary Praful Patel, in a statement issued in New Delhi of Saturday, said that it was not fair on the part of Left allies to come to any sort of conclusion on allegations and contended Chandy has done no wrong and all the allegations against him are baseless.
Chandy, a cash-rich Kuwait-based businessman, is a three-time legislator from Kuttanad in Alappuzha.
The NCP has two legislators in Kerala. Chandy was sworn in as a minister on April this year after his party colleague AK Saseendran stepped down after he was caught in an alleged sleaze scandal.