Thiruvananthapuram: The ruling Left Democratic Front is meeting here on Sunday to seal the fate of Transport Minister Thomas Chandy (NCP), embroiled in an unseemly land-fill case involving Lake Palace Resort, which he partly owns in Alappuzha. The CPM and the CPI, the two major partners of the LDF, at their meetings on Saturday resolved to end the nagging political embarrassment to the front without further delay. The NCP, too, will have to quickly dispose of the question of replacing Mr Chandy.
The trigger for Mr Chandy’s premature end was the allegation of encroachment and paddy conversion by his own party men, and Alappuzha district collector T V Anupama’s report nailing violations of Kerala Land Utilization Order 1967 and Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act 2008 by Water World Tourism Company Pvt Ltd, which runs Lake Palace Resort. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who initially defended him in the Assembly, also finds himself in the dock. But once the collector gave her report and Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan took a firm stand, the Government had no option but to seek the opinion of the Advocate General. The latter has opined that the Government cannot overlook the Collector’s report.
“Now his exit is imminent, either on Sunday or Monday. Best is for him to step down on moral grounds because strictly legally he had not caused any irreparable damage by annexing the 1.5-m-wide stretch of road near Lake Palace. His company has petitioned the High Court against the Collector’s order. Now how can he continue in office after making the Chief Secretary a main respondent in the case”, commended a senior Government official.
NCP, with a mere two MLAs, has already decided to take the extreme step. Party president T P Peethambaran Master said on Saturday that Mr Chandy had himself said that the moment Mr Saseendran comes out of the honey-trap case, he would step down. Which implies that the NCP is reconciled to his exit and the re-induction of Mr Saseendran.
Mr Chandy, who owns a chain of schools in Kuwait and chairs Daveedputhra Charitable Society, which is involved in building houses, providing sanitation facilities, health care and educational assistance, and other services, was sworn in as minister on April 1 in place of Saseendrean after he was caught in a media-operated honey-trap. Mr Saseendran has finally patched up with the woman who allegedly trapped him and is awaiting the formal closure of the court casetigation into the incident....