March 17, 2018

Thomas Chandy agrees to quit, informs decision to Cabinet

15 November 2017, 11:21 | Taylor George

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Kerala Transport Minister Thomas Chandy, a businessman turned politician whose resort company has encroached on government land, resigned on Wednesday from the CPI (M)-led LDF government headed by Pinarayi Vijayan.

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday dismissed Chandy's petition challenging the report of the Alappuzha district collector, which had found that largescale violations of Kerala Land Conservation Act and Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act had been committed by the luxury lake resort owned by the minister.

Earlier this morning, CM Pinarayi has told that Chandy's resignation did not come up in the Cabinet's meeting.

A division bench of the high court, comprising justices P N Raveendran and Devan Ramachandran held that a minister can not file a petition against his own government, which had ordered the district collector to look into the matter and submit a report. This is the third minister to go from the Cabinet in 17 months.

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"I was entrusted with the decision on Chandy's resignation and also there was a case in the court".

Earlier in the day, Thomas Chandy's counsel informed the court that he does not wish to withdraw the petition. The state government also faced criticism from the bench, which questioned the lack of action on the collector's report and said the government was trying to place it on the court's shoulders.

The state unit of NCP has sought the opinion of its national leadership, state president T.P. Peethambaran told reporters. "We will look into the complete judgement and the right decision would be taken at the appropriate time", he said.

Responding to the High Court verdict, Chandy said Tuesday that he would quit if the observation against him is in the signed verdict of the High Court. The NCP executive meet in Kochi on Tuesday discussed the matter and chose to inform the national leadership about its decision on it. While E.P. Jayarajan, minister for industries and sports, had to leave after facing charges of nepotism past year, A.K. Saseendran, minister for transport, quit following allegations of sexual misconduct in April.

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