VS's clean image takes a beating

The Congress had last week demanded a vigilance inquiry into a newspaper report which said Achuthanandan’s office helped his nephew to receive 2.33 acres of free land in Kasargod district through a cabinet decision after the elections. The land worth around Rs 50 lakh was gifted to T K Soman, an ex-serviceman hailing from his native village in Alappuzha. The chief minister, however, claimed on Wednesday that there was nothing illegal in the allotment. “Oommen Chandy has been raising charges against me ever since he was voted out. This must be his last attack targeting me personally,” Achuthanandan told the media here.

Achuthanandan justified the cabinet decision to award the land saying that the decision was actually taken by the Congress-led government in 1977 when A K Antony was chief minister. However, documents with the state’s land revenue commissioner showed that his office took undue interest in allotting the land because the previous order had lapsed. The allotment was done overruling the objections of the land revenue commissioner and the District Collector.

“The land was allotted flouting all rules and he could not even take his cabinet colleagues into confidence,” Oommen Chandy said.

Chandy said that the request for permission to sell the land came before the cabinet after the April 13 elections as an unlisted agenda and a series of violations followed. “It is a shame that the  CM has justified such a flagrant violation of rules. There should be a detailed probe into the deal,” he said.

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