Thomas Chandy rejects encroachment charges; opposition press for resignation

Saturday, Sep 23, 2017,17:31 IST By anju A A A

Kochi/Thiruvananthapuram | Embattled Kerala minister Thomas Chandy today denied the charge that he had encroached upon backwaters in Alappuzha district and rejected demands for his resignation, even as the opposition maintained that he had no moral rights to continue.

As the opposition Congress and BJP intensified their demand for his resignation claiming that a report by the district collector had indicted him, Chandy said there was no need for him to encroach backwaters and the allegations were meant to mislead the people.

“I have not encroached the backwaters. There is no need for me to do so,” Chandy, a businessman-turned-politician of Nationalist Congress Party, told reporters in Kochi.

He, however, said that he had done landfill on 110 meters of a narrow path to provide access to the land owned by him in Kuttanad in the district.

Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, Ramesh Chennithala, said in Thiruvananthapuram that the transport minister, who owns a resort in Alappuzha, was clinging on to power citing “technical reasons”.

He urged Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to seek the resignation of Chandy at the earliest, claiming that Alappuazha district collector had submitted a report confirming the encroachment allegations.

Collector T V Anupama had submitted a preliminary report to state Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan in this regard yesterday.

“As per the information, the collector had reported that the minister had encroached backwaters and violated rules.

But, Chandy is trying to continue in the post stating that it was only a preliminary report,” Chennithala said.

Chandy has no moral right to continue in the position and it is a challenge to the democracy, he said.

Pitching in, BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan alleged that the chief minister was “afraid” of asking Chandy to resign.

He also alleged that Vijayan and Chandy had close connections beyond politics.

“Despite evidences cropping up against Chandy, he is continuing as minister and this is a challenge to the rule of law. Chandy should understand that people had elected him not to violate laws but to protect them,” the BJP leader said in a statement in Thiruvananthapuram.

Chandy, representing Kuttand in Alappuzha district in the state assembly, has been under attack from the Congress-led UDF and BJP ever since the allegations of encroachments surfaced.

An urgent meeting of the Alappuzha Municipal Council held yesterday had quashed the tax concession being given for the Lake Palace resort situated at Kuttanad in Alappuzha district from 2004 onwards.

Chandy became a minister in April after replacing party nominee A K Saseendran, who had quit the cabinet after a purported audio clip of him speaking in sexual undertones to a woman emerged.