Thomas Chandy contemplating moving SC after high court rap

Kerala HC rejects minister Thomas Chandy's plea to quash report on land grab charges

The controversy over Thomas Chandy's alleged land grab surfaced after Alappuzha district collector T.V. Anupama submitted a report in August saying that portions of the Marthandam Lake had been usurped for building the Minister's plush Lake Palace Resort, besides a paddy field was levelled for a parking lot for the resort.

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. The court said the minister could approach the collector with his grievances regarding her report.

"It's a classic case for disqualification".

Chandy's cabinet colleagues, Communist leaders and leaders of own Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have asked him to step down.

The court asked how a minister could file a petition against the government, and suggested that resigning from the Cabinet was the ideal option for him, Mathrubhumi reported.

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There was a violation of the collective cabinet responsibility by the minister, the court held.

In Kochi, the NCP state executive discussed the matter and chose to inform the national leadership about its decision on the matter.

Responding to the court's remarks, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said he will take necessary action after studying the High Court observations. "If there is an observation against me in the verdict, no doubt, I will quit", he said to a query on the growing demand for his resignation. "I'll arrive at decision after getting a copy of the verdict", he had said while speaking to media persons here on Tuesday evening.

Meanwhile, with the HC coming down on the Thomas Chandy, pressure is mounting on chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan to take a call on Chandy's continuance as minister.

Several members of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) have been demanding Chandy's resignation for some time. "Appropriate decision will be taken at the right time", he said. 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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