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Last Updated Tuesday January 23 2018 04:16 PM IST

Court orders Vigilance probe against Thomas Chandy

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Court orders Vigilance probe against Thomas Chandy The court had ordered a prima facie inquiry against Thomas Chandy on November 4, 2017, in response to a complaint by an Alappuzha native.

Thiruvananthapuram: In more trouble for beleaguered NCP leader Thomas Chandy, who had to forsake his ministerial post after facing encroachment charges, the Vigilance court has ordered a case and inquiry against him.

The special Vigilance court in Kottayam gave the direction after perusing a quick verification report submitted by the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB).

The court posted the matter to January 18 for further hearing.

Chandy had resigned as minister on November 15, 2017, over land grabbing allegations related to his resort.

The court order comes a day after the Vigilance recommended action against the former minister in a report that also cited violations in the construction of a road from Valiyakulam to Zero Jetty near Chandy's Lake Palace Resort in Alappuzha. The report was submitted to the Kottayam Vigilance court Thursday.

The report, submitted to Vigilance chief Loknath Behera, had also recommended an inquiry into the roles of Rajya Sabha deputy chairman PJ Kurien (Congress) and former MP K E Ismail (CPI), who had provided money for the road from their MPs' funds.

The court had ordered a prima facie inquiry against Thomas Chandy on November 4, 2017, in response to a complaint by an Alappuzha native.

The Vigilance in its probe concluded that the anti-corruption law holds good in this case though the leveled land belonged to a private citizen as government officials and people's representatives were involved.

As per the law enforced in 2008 to protect paddy fields and water sources, permission from the government and the district and state paddy field protection committees were essential before leveling paddy fields. The Vigilance report said the law was flouted and a road was constructed near the resort without any permission, leveling paddy fields of private citizens. Two MPs and the harbor engineering department granted funds for it in 2013.

The road was made up to the resort, avoiding other areas and ignoring public interests. An amount of Rs 28.5 lakh was spent on tarring the road, the report added.

The money from MPs' fund was sanctioned after district collectors Padma Kumar and Saurabh Jain as well as other revenue officials carried out inspections. In effect, the officials squandered away tax money raised from the people.

The Vigilance director had returned an earlier report, saying it was incomplete. He had instructed that detailed depositions be obtained from former district collectors and officials.

The Vigilance court had allowed a total of 30 days for the preparation of a preliminary report.

Later the probe team said it could not record statements from Thomas Chandy as he was abroad. The statements of Alappuzha collector and subcollector were also not recorded.

Read more: Latest Kerala news | Doctor refused to attend to patients during strike? Kerala health minister orders inquiry

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