CPI skips Kerala cabinet meet attended by Thomas Chandy

Court Slams Thomas Chandy, Kerala Chief Minister May Have To Lose Him

Kerala High Court on land grab scam: It's better that minister Thomas Chandy steps down

Sources close to Chandy said he will approach the Supreme Court on Thursday and it has been decided that the slot meant for the Nationalist Congress Party in the cabinet will be left vacant.

The CPI is under tremendous pressure for the resignation of the NCP leader, who is facing charges of land encroachment after the High Court dismissed his petition against Alappuzha District Collector's report on land encroachment. Soon after arriving here on Tuesday night, the minister said that even if he were to resign, he would return to Cabinet hundred times more powerful once the case gets over.

Several members of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) have been demanding Chandy's resignation for some time.

Thomas Chandy can cite technicalities for his decision, but the LDF cannot shrug off its collective responsibility to let the issue dither.

Earlier in the day, Thomas Chandy's counsel informed the court that he does not wish to withdraw the petition.

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In her report, filed last month, the government official said that agricultural land used for paddy has been encroached upon by a resort owned by Mr Chandy.

A whistleblower has also alleged that a company owned by Mr Chandy has allegedly been illegally developing a part along the lake Vembanad, one of the largest in India, with the intent of commercially developing the section. Now that the court has made its decision yesterday (Tuesday), Chandy and his party leader T.P. Peetambharan met me in the morning. On Tuesday, Vijayan told reporters that he has learned about the court order and is in talks with the NCP leadership.

"A decision will be taken (on Mr Chandy's removal) after studying the court's decision in detail", Chief Minister Vijayan said today. But the leadership, with which Mr. Chandy, a businessman, enjoys considerable clout, remained in a catch 22 and sought to "convey the majority sentiments to the party's central leadership" for a final decision on the matter.

In October previous year, senior CPM leader E P Jayarajan resigned as industries and sports minister for reportedly appointing his and other leaders' relatives to key positions in public sector undertakings.

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