Kerala minister Chandy resigns over land-grab charge against his resort

Kerala Transport Minister Thomas Chandy, who is facing encroachment charges, leaves his office at Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday. PTI Picture

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov. 15 (PTI): Kerala Transport Minister Thomas Chandy, a businessman turned politician whose resort company has encroached on government land, resigned on Wednesday from the CPI(M)-led LDF government headed by Pinarayi Vijayan. 

Chandy, a member of the Nationalist Congress Party, resigns a day after the Kerala High Court dismissed his petition challenging a report of the Alappuzha district collector on the encroachments by Lake Palace resort, a company in which he has a stake. 

The court had said it was “extremely improper” for a minister to file a petition against his own government.

Chandy is the third minister in the Vijayan cabinet to resign after the Left Democratic Front government came to power in May 2016.

A.K. Saseendran of the NCP had resigned after an audio clip with a woman went viral and E.P. Jayarajan (CPI-M) quit on nepotism charges. 

Chandy, a three-time lawmaker of the NCP, had been inducted into the cabinet eight months ago following the resignation of A.K. Saseendran.

The NCP had only two members in the legislative assembly.

The resignation letter was handed over to the chief minister by NCP state President, T.P. Peethambaran Master.

Chandy, who left for Alappuzha after attending the cabinet meeting, told a Malayalam television channel that even though the chief minister did not seek his resignation and there were no grounds for seeking it, the adamant attitude of the Communist Party of India, a coalition partner, made the chief minister to ask him to “rethink.”

”The chief minister said we are not asking you to resign, but take a decision after consulting with your leadership,” Chandy said. 

Earlier, talking to reporters after cabinet meeting, Vijayan said the issue had been left to the NCP's national leadership.

Chandy had been getting flak over allegations that his company had violated rules to construct a parking area and a road through a paddy field to his Lake Palace resort in Alappuzha district.

Alappuzha District Collector, T.V. Anupama, had told the state government stated that large-scale violations of Kerala land conservation Act and Conservation of Paddy land & Wetland Act had been committed by the resort. 

The Opposition -- the Congress-led United Democratic Front and the Bharatiya Janata Party -- had been on the warpath for a month demanding Chandy's resignation over the encroachment allegations. 


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