The Alappuzha Collector’s final report found evidence that the Minister did encroach on land to construct his Lake Palace Resort, reports say.

Is Pinarayi set to lose another Minister Land grab report goes against Thomas Chandy
news Controversy Monday, October 23, 2017 - 13:51

In a setback to Kerala’s ruling Left Democratic Front government, Alappuzha District Collector TV Anupama has reportedly submitted a report confirming that Transport Minister Thomas Chandy did encroach land for the construction of his Lake Palace Resort.

According to reports, sources have said that the probe found that portions of the Marthandam Lake in Alappuzha had been leveled for the construction of the resort. The Collector's report has also reportedly found that a paddy field had been filled up to build a parking lot for the resort.

The report is also said to have accused other officials of aiding the Minister in violation of the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act, by building and paving a road to the resort. The report suggests that action be taken against these officials.

The final report submitted by the Collector was prepared based on the findings of a survey carried out by a team of Revenue officials. Earlier, a preliminary report based on satellite images showing changes in the land use pattern had also reportedly inferred land encroachment.

Collector Anupama handed over her report to the Revenue Principal Secretary PH Kurian in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday evening. However, Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan told media persons on Monday that he hasn’t yet examined the report in detail. “A decision will be taken based on the report after it is examined in detail,” he said.

Minister Chandy has been facing allegations related to the luxury resort since August, when Asianet News had carried a series of reports on the alleged encroachment.

However, Chandy had earlier claimed that the allegations were baseless, and that Asianet was airing such news because of dearth of other subjects. “I challenge them to prove the allegation. If it is proved I will not only quit my Minister post, but my MLA post as well,” Chandy had told the Assembly during a session in August.

Chandy, who represents the Kuttanad constituency in Alappuzha, is the richest legislator in the Assembly. He is a leader of the Nationalist Congress Party, one of the allies of the LDF, which has two MLAs in the Assembly. Chandy became a Minister after his party colleague AK Saseendran resigned after a television channel carried out a “honeytrap” against him.

If Chandy does quit his ministerial post over the land encroachment controversy in the coming days, he will be the third LDF Minister to quit. Besides Saseendran, former Industries Minister EP Jayarajan had also quit following a nepotism controversy involving his nephew.

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