Kerala police accuses VS of involvement in land scam

CPM leader rubbishes charges, says he is being framed

In a dramatic development in Kerala politics, the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau of the Kerala police registered an FIR against former chief minister and Opposition Leader in the Kerala Assembly V S Achutanandan in a land allotment case.

Following this,  Achuthanandan expressed his desire to step down from his post as Leader of Opposition to the CPM central leadership, which dissuaded him from doing so. At a press conference held on Friday with regard to the registration of the case, Achutanandan said, “I had spoken to my party’s leadership and you can be sure that I won’t follow the example of ministers in the present United Democratic Front in Kerala who continue to stick to their position despite vigilance investigation progressing against them.”

He said the case was a political conspiracy hatched against him by Chief Minister Oomen Chandy and a few ministers in the present Government who nursed a grudge against him for bringing to light their role in illegal activities. “I have been fighting against mafias which indulge in corruption and exploitation of women. By trapping me in the case I won’t backtrack,” he added.

Achuthanandan is the first accused in the case registered by the Vigilance department under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Former Kerala revenue minister K P Rajendran is the second accused in the case. Other accused include beneficiary in the land allotment case T K Soman and four IAS officials. Various other charges of taking part in a criminal conspiracy and destroying evidence have been raised against Achuthanandan and other accused.

The case has been registered following preliminary findings by an investigating team that norms have been violated in allotting 2.33 acres of land to a retired army personnel Soman by previous LDF government in Kerala. Soman is a relative of Achuthanandan.

Commenting on the issue, CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan said CPM will fight the case legally.

He noted that Oommen Chandy had not abdicated his position when Vigilance investigated allegations of abetting corruption against him in Palmolein import case. The vigilance had recently found that charges were baseless.

However, Chief Minister Oo­m­men Chandy said Achuth­anandan should answer the question of whether the beneficiary in the land allotment case is his relative and whether the decision to allot land was taken without his knowledge instead of saying that the case is politically motivated.

Revenue minister Tiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan also dismissed the allegation that the case is politically motivated. It is for Achuthanandan to prove that allegation, he said.

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