Alappuzha: Mr Thomas Chandy aka Kuwait Chandy is primarily a multi-millionaire businessman who has strayed into politics with his money power. He has muddied the placid waters of Kuttanad with his luxury resort and is now caught up in the state’s swift political cross-currents.
Mr Chandy, 69, is a three-time legislator from Kuttanad who began his political career along with the late Congress leader K. Karunakaran when he formed the DIC (K). He has won the electoral battles as DIC (K) and NCP candidate with thumping margins from 2006 onwards.
Mr Chandy owns four schools, restaurants and bakeries in Kuwait, besides the Rs 20-crore resort in Alappuzha. He had courted a controversy during last dispensation by claiming Rs 1.91 crore of taxpayers’ money for advanced medical treatment.
He has a dubious business record in Kuwait and faced allegations of fraud. Commenting on that he once said: “I am no party at all in that case. I had leased out a building to another school in Kuwait and collected 35,000 Kuwaiti dinars. When the Kuwait court asked me to return the money, I did it immediately. This is no case at all.”
About the land grab issue in Kuttanad, Mr Chandy said: “I have invested several crores of rupees for the development of the backward district Alappuzha. I have made no encroachment. I toiled hard in the Middle East for several years and with that money I opened the Lake Palace Resort. I have invested Rs 150 crore and am providing employment to hundreds of people. I am incurring a loss of several lakhs of rupees every year.”
Mr Chandy who always had ministerial ambitions realised his dream in March when Mr A. K. Saseendran had to bow out as transport minister after being caught in a honey trap case.
Alappuzha then had four ministers- PWD Minister G. Sudhakaran, Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac and Civil Supplies Minister P. Thilothaman, besides Mr Chandy.
However, Mr Chandy’s luck as minister did not last long. Following reports about the encroachments made by the Lake Palace Resort, Revenue Minister E. Chandrasekharan sought a report from the then district collector Veena N. Madhavan who found no irregularities, but said detailed investigations were needed.
The new collector T.V. Anupama submitted a report confirming violation of land laws. The company on October 24 approached the High Court asking for a stay on the collector’s report. It again approached the court on November 9 to annul the report. But the court dashed the hopes of Mr Chandy by rejecting the petition....