Kerala min Thomas Chandy resigns

Kerala min Thomas Chandy resigns

Pressure mounted on Kerala's transport minister Thomas Chandy to quit after the state high court criticized him sharply on Tuesday over a case of land encroachment.

The high court dismissed Chandy's petition on Tuesday challenging the report of the Alappuzha district collector, which had found that large-scale 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.

In just over a year in office, three ministers in Pinarayi Vijayan's cabinet of the Kerala government have resigned.

The ruling CPM, and specifically Pinarayi Vijayan, have been under fire over the continued support extended to Chandy, despite a report by District Collector T V Anupama, which confirmed the encroachment.

Chandy said the chief minister would take an apt decision and he would make a comeback even if he had to quit.

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Senior lawyer in Supreme Court Vivek Tankha argued that Chandy's petition was in private capacity but the bench pointed out that the first line of the petition itself identifies the petitioner as a minister. "They said they need to discuss the issue with their party national leadership", Vijayan told reporters after the weekly Cabinet meeting.

Chandy was alleged to have got a road constructed through government-owned land and levelled water bodies to facilitate easier access to his Lake Palace Resort located near the Punamada Lake in Kerala. Chandy came to the Secretariat after calling on the chief minister at the Cliff House.

Emotions ran high at the executive in which a vast majority clamoured for the ouster of Mr. Chandy, who stayed off the meeting despite being present at his residence in Kochi. "The NCP will discuss it with their central leaders and inform their decision", Vijayan said, in a press conference.

Chandrasekheran later told the media that they had clearly expressed the reason for not attending the meeting to the Chief Minister. Now Chandy has said he would be approaching the apex court before he taking a decision. "Appropriate decision will be taken at the right time", he said. Two others along with him had to complete their jail term. Jayarajan was a leader of Vijayan's Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Saseendran was a leader of NCP.

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