Kerala land deal: Vigilance court orders probe against Revenue Ministerhttps://indianexpress.com/article/elections-2016/india/india-news-india/kerala-land-deal-vigilance-court-orders-probe-against-revenue-minister/

Kerala land deal: Vigilance court orders probe against Revenue Minister

The order comes at a time when state Congress president V M Sudheeran is adamant against giving a party ticket to the revenue minister in the Assembly elections.

A Vigilance court in Muvattupuzha on Wednesday ordered a quick verification against Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash regarding a controversial order to hand over 128 acres of a paddy field, identified as surplus land, to a private developer.

Acting on a public interest petition, the court asked the Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau to submit the report within 15 days.

The order comes at a time when state Congress president V M Sudheeran is adamant against giving a party ticket to the revenue minister in the Assembly elections.

Prakash, a loyalist of Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala’s group, had embarrassed the Congress by taking controversial decisions pertaining to land deals. All such deals had to be revoked following protests from within the ruling party and the Opposition.

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The order to hand over the surplus land to the private developer was issued on March 2, two days before the Assembly polls were notified. The order was issued disregarding reports from various departments. Police had reported that ‘godman’ Santhosh Madhavan purchased the land under benami names.

The high court and the land revenue board had earlier rejected petitions submitted by the company. District collectors of Thrissur and Ernakulam, too, had reported that handing over the land to the company would be a violation of the Land Reforms Act.