Who is Thomas Chandy?

If Chandy is ordered to resign, it will fly in the face of Vijayan’s commitment to maintaining a clean and transparent cabinet.

By: Express Web Desk | Kochi | Updated: October 24, 2017 7:18 pm
Thomas Chandy, Kerala Minister, land grabbing, Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala government, encroachment, land encroachment, India News, Indian Express Transport Minister Thomas Chandy.

Alappuzha District Collector TV Anupama submitted the final report to the government into the alleged charges against Kerala Transport Minister Thomas Chandy pertaining to the encroachment of a section of the Marthandam Lake in Alappuzha district. Chandy, a businessman turned politicians has however denied the allegations being levelled against him.

Who is Thomas Chandy?

Thomas Chandy is the Transport Minister in the Pinarayi Vijayan-led LDF government in Kerala. Chandy is a member of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which allied itself with the CPM-led coalition in the 2016 Assembly elections. He defeated Jacob Abraham of the Kerala Congress (Mani) to win from the Kuttanad Assembly seat in Alappuzha district. Chandy was brought into the state cabinet following the resignation of fellow NCP leader AK Saseendran, who was allegedly caught on tape having a lewd conversation with a woman. Besides politics, Chandy has a range of business interests from owning schools in Kuwait to hospitality firms in India.

So what’s the controversy around Thomas Chandy?

Chandy faces allegations of having encroached upon a section of the Marthandam Lake in Alappuzha district in order to construct a parking spot and approach roads to the Lake Palace resort, that he owns along with a relative. An interim report submitted by Alappuzha district collector TV Anupama to the revenue department has purportedly confirmed that Chandy and his business associates violated rules pertaining to the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act 2008. The report has recommended the restoration of the levelled land along with strong action against revenue, water and agriculture department officials who played a role in the encroachment of land and paddy fields. The report was submitted following an investigation into the alleged land encroachment ordered by the revenue ministry.

Is there pressure on Chandy to resign?

Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan, who belongs to the CPI, met Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday asking for legal action against Chandy in the backdrop of the Collector’s report. However, the chief minister has maintained a studied silence on it. Chandy, on his part, denied committing any wrongs and termed the allegations baseless. With the Congress demanding Chandy’s immediate exit from the cabinet, there is a lot of pressure on the NCP leader. It will up to CM Vijayan to decide on Chandy’s future in the cabinet.

What are the political repercussions if Chandy were to resign?

Pinarayi Vijayan, from the beginning of his term last year, has vowed that corruption will not be tolerated. In fact, after a judicial commission report pointed fingers at several top Congress leaders in the solar scandal, Vijayan was quick to order a vigilance inquiry against Oommen Chandy and several other leaders. This move was seen by the Congress as a political vendetta ploy.

If Thomas Chandy resigns, he would be the third minister to exit the cabinet in a year. Last year, Industries Minister EP Jayarajan, a close confidante of Vijayan, had stepped down following nepotism charges. Earlier this year, AK Saseendran, an NCP leader, resigned after he was caught in a ‘honeytrap’ making objectionable comments to a woman over the phone. If Chandy is ordered to resign, it will fly in the face of Vijayan’s commitment to maintaining a clean and transparent cabinet. At the same time, letting him stay would also be seen as tolerating corruption, a major issue in the state.

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  1. M
    Nov 15, 2017 at 5:07 pm
    First, politicians and babus make most complicated and impractical laws. Then, they will stop all the development work. Govt. collect the tax from public and only distribute the money on babu's, trade union's and politician's ries and nothing for development. They will not allow any honest person/entrepreneur to start any industries or grow anything in Kerala. If one has to do any business, they are forced to break some laws at least. Then the Govt., TV channels and public go after the so called law-breakers. The cycle repeats year after year. Some non-sense crab mentality this and nothing else. Finally everybody suffers. At least public has the satisfaction everybody remain poor. What a state and country this!
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        Nov 15, 2017 at 3:00 pm
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        1. N
          Nov 15, 2017 at 2:44 pm
          Bulk of the politicians are corrupt and misuse power to amass wealth for family group and friends - violate all norms with authority, threatening Admin officials , some of whom succumb with a share in gains behind the scene or influence for other tasks ! Shame we can not get honest sincere folks to work for the nation olden leaders like Rajaji, Kamaraj etc cannot be found at all now at State level or Central Govt rule ! What the British Govt said has come true independence will make country run by scoundrels mostly !
          1. A
            Nov 15, 2017 at 2:18 pm
            This case of Chandy has two main sides, (1) He encroached the land even before he was an MLA. The encroachment work done investing his own money helped the locals fetch a higher rate for their land from Rs 1000 - Rs 350,000 per cent. This cannot be termed a self interest at all, beside the encroachment / land filling was all for the purpose of constructing a public road. (2) His wealth is made many powerful politicians and businessmen jealous. In my opinion Chandy is not corrupt or less corrupt to many other political leaders from congress or BJP in the state. Media need a scape goat to further their own interest by increasing TRP to get maximum advertising rate. Hence they create news these days.
            1. M
              Nov 15, 2017 at 7:22 pm
              But you know in Kerala, being rich is a crime even it is through honest means, I do not know about Chandy's case though. But this is general comment. Keralites have crab mentality. If anybody escapes from the clutches of Kerala's so called socialists and intellectuals (my foot!), they are sure to pull him/her down.
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