Ker­ala HC re­jects Thomas Chandy’s plea

Min­is­ter’s con­tin­u­a­tion un­ten­able now

The Hindu - - FRONT PAGE - S. Anan­dan

The Ker­ala High Court on Tues­day dis­missed a pe­ti­tion by Trans­port Min­is­ter Thomas Chandy chal­leng­ing a re­port by the Alap­puzha Col­lec­tor on the al­leged en­croach­ments by a com­pany in which he has stake.

A Bench of Jus­tices P.N. Raveen­dran and De­van Ra­machan­dran held that a Min­is­ter can­not file a pe­ti­tion against his own gov­ern­ment, which had or­dered the Col­lec­tor’s probe.

Fol­low­ing the court’s scathing crit­i­cism, the NCP Min­is­ter’s con­tin­u­a­tion has be­come un­ten­able.

Mr. Chandy left for Thiru­vanan­tha­pu­ram later in the evening af­ter be­ing sum­moned by Chief Min­is­ter Pi­narayi Vi­jayan ahead of Wed­nes­day’s Cab­i­net meet­ing.

He would of­fer his ex­pla­na­tions to the Chief Min­is­ter be­fore the cab­i­net meet­ing on Wed­nes­day, TP Peetham­baran, party State pres­i­dent, said.

Al­ready un­der fire from coali­tion part­ners for bend­ing over back­wards to pro­tect Mr. Chandy and caus­ing se­vere em­bar­rass­ment to the gov­ern­ment, the NCP State ex­ec­u­tive, which met here briefly on Tues­day, has now shifted to dam­age con­trol to en­sure no fur­ther dis­com­fi­ture to the gov­ern­ment, as a leader put it.

Ma­jor­ity sen­ti­ments

Emo­tions ran high at the ex­ec­u­tive meet­ing in which a vast ma­jor­ity clam­oured for the ouster of Mr. Chandy, who did not at­tend the meet­ing.

How­ever, the lead­er­ship, with whom Mr. Chandy, a busi­ness­man, en­joys con­sid­er­able clout, left the fi­nal de­ci­sion to the party’s cen­tral lead­er­ship, hav­ing “con­veyed the ma­jor­ity sen­ti­ments.”

Sources in­di­cated that Mr. Chandy is most likely to step down af­ter a meet­ing with se­nior leader Pra­ful Pa­tel on Novem­ber 16 (Thurs­day). For­mer min­is­ter A.K. Saseen­dran, whom he re­placed in the cab­i­net, is ex­pected to re­turn as de­cided ear­lier.

“No­body wants to dis­may Mr. Chandy. There­fore, his res­ig­na­tion would be treated as hon­our­ing an ear­lier agree­ment, not as bow­ing to pres­sure in the face of the land grab al­le­ga­tions,” a party leader said.

With the woman who lodged a com­plaint of sex­ual abuse against Mr Saseen­dran ear­lier this year will­ing to with­draw the case in the High Court, his re­turn to the cab­i­net has been made eas­ier, the leader said.

But Mr. Saseen­dran would have to wait, as the P.S. Antony Com­mis­sion, ap­pointed by the Cab­i­net to look into the al­le­ga­tion of sex­ual mis­con­duct against him, has still to sub­mit its re­port.

Thomas Chandy

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