Transport minister Thomas Chandy will step down 'If CM asks so'

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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.

The court asked how can a person sitting in a minister's post file a plea against the government.

A Kottayam vigilance court had earlier on November 8 ordered verification of the land encroachment allegations filed against Chandy.

"It's a classic case for disqualification".

The state unit of Chandy's party, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), has asked its central leadership to decide on Chandy's future in the CPM-led Left Democratic Front government.

A division bench of judges P N Ravindran and Devan Ramachandran rejected Chandy's writ petition in this connection and observed that the minister's move was in conflict with the collective responsibility entrusted with the Cabinet.

Significantly, appearing against Chandy on Tuesday, government counsel strongly argued in favour of the probe report and called the minister's opposition to it "immature".

In Kochi, the NCP state executive discussed the matter and chose to inform the national leadership about its decision on the matter. Former minister A.K. Saseendran, whom he replaced in the cabinet, is expected to return as decided earlier.

Mr Vijayan said the LDF had earlier chose to entrust him to take an appropriate decision on the matter after looking into all aspects. "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.

NCP state leadership on Tuesday chose to leave the decision on the demand for Chandy's decision to the party's parliamentary board.

Following the HC verdict, the chief minister finally ended his silence on the Chandy issue, telling mediapersons Tuesday that he would take the right decision on the issue at an appropriate time.

Balakrishnan further said everyone has to abide by the decision of the Chief Minister, which was also applicable to NCP, whose nominee is Chandy in the cabinet. Two others had to step down soon after they were accused of misconduct.

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