Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday came down heavily on the kid-glove treatment meted out to transport minister Thomas Chandy by the state government in the probe into the allegations of encroachment and filling up of Vembanad lake.
The court, while hearing a public interest litigation filed by a Thrissur native in this regard, orally observed that the state government was proceeding slowly in the case.
Seeking to know the present status of the investigation and the common approach of the government in such cases, the court asked whether the government would not use bulldozers if such encroachments were done by the common man. It also said that everybody was equal before law and that the minister would not get any special preference in the court when such matters are dealt with.
The government attorney said that the investigation in the case has not been completed. What has been submitted before the court on behalf of the government is only the preliminary inquiry report and the final inquiry report will be submitted later, he said. The Alappuzha district collector had reported that water has to recede to assess any encroachment in Marthandam lake, he said.
The lawyer representing Mr Thomas Chandy pointed out that all these allegations of encroachment had cropped up only after he became the transport minister. These issues were addressed earlier, he added.
The court ruled that the acting chief justice will take a decision on together considering various petitions submitted against Mr Chandy.
The Thrissur native wanted the registration of a case against the Water World Tourism Company Private Limited, in which Mr Thomas Chandy is a director, for encroaching into the Vembanad lake and filling it up and also encroaching on puramboke land.