A sting operation by a leading Kerala-based TV channel claims to have exposed an "unholy alliance" between the Revenue Department officials and real estate brokers with the active support of ruling CPI's Wayanad district unit.
The Communist Party of India (CPI) is the second largest ally of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) government.
On hearing the news, party's state secretary Kanam Rajendran, who has been quite vocal about the alleged corruption of previous Oommen Chandy government and projecting the CPI's tough stand on corruption, said he would ask for a detailed probe into this.
As soon as the news spread, Revenue Minister E. Chandrasekheran on Monday ordered a probe and asked Wayanad District Collector S. Suhas to suspend the Deputy Collector, who is alleged to have facilitated usurping of the government land in the district.
The expose shows an Asianet TV channel team posing as a group of businessmen looking for a particular piece of land in the district to build a resort. They first approach Kunju Mohammed, a real estate broker, who takes them to Wayanad Deputy Collector T. Somnathan and some CPI district leaders, including its Wayanad unit secretary Vijayan Cherukara.
Mohammed connects them with Somnathan and Cherukara, and the latter using his influence gets access to the state secretariat.
The visuals -- besides the audio of conversation between Mohammed, Somnathan and Cherukara -- try to establish that there is an unholy alliance between them to allegedly usurp the government land.
Chandrasekheran told the media that the probe had already begun into the expose.
"There will be no let-down in the probe and anyone found guilty would not be spared," said the Minister.
Suhas, on his part, has decided to seal the two revenue offices in Wayanad to see that the probe is not hampered.
Putting up a brave face, Cherukara denied of any such deals and termed it as a conspiracy.
"Let there be detailed probe into this... This is a fake news to defame the present Left government," said Cherukara.
As soon as the news broke out, angry youth wing activists of both Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took out protest marches to the Wayanad Collectorate, while the youth wing of the CPI-M demanded a thorough probe into the whole episode.
Former state Congress president VM Sudheeran said it was most unfortunate.
"While the state government and the Revenue Department have been saying that there is paucity of land to be given to the landless, we now hear that land is being usurped and sold illegally. Only suspending a government official will not suffice... The need of the hour is to expose the unholy alliance between the political setup and the administration," said Sudheeran.