November 15, 2017
Image credit : Illustrative Image
Kochi: Disgraced Kerala Transport Minister Thomas Chandy resigned on Wednesday, succumbing to pressure from the CPI and the observations of Kerala High Court regarding his land encroachment in Alappuzha.
It could be perhaps the first time in the history of the State that a minister challenged the government in a high court despite violating all environmental norms to reclaim lake for modifying his Lake Palace resort.
Chandy was elected on an NCP ticket from Kuttanad in Alappuzha.
A prominent businessman based in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, Chandy was in the midst of controversy for not declaring his true assets in the affidavit before the Election Commission. But, the main issue that cost him his portfolio was the alleged encroachment of Punnamada lake for improving the infrastructure of his Lake Palace Resort.
The issue was taken up by the media which exposed an unholy tieup between Chandy and revenue department officials.
As the matter became murkier, the Revenue Minister, who belongs to the CPI, ordered a probe by Alappuzha District Collector Anupama who produced satellite data to prove Chandy guilty. It was against this that Chandy went to the High Court which rejected his plea and flayed the government.
Earlier, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) meeting entrusted Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to take a decision on the issue.
Now the big question is whether the government will bring status quo of the reclaimed lake. Also comes up the issue whether Chandy will be prosecuted for violating various norms.