As protest by students of a private law college here against its Principal entered the 21st day today, the LDF government in Kerala ordered a probe into the utilisation of land assigned to the institution. Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan directed the Revenue Secretary to hold the probe into the land utilisation by the Kerala Law Academy Law College, sources in the Minister’s office said. The probe order comes days after CPI-M veteran V S Achuthandanan, in an embarrassment to the party-led government, supported the students’ stir and demanded that the land alloted to the college be taken back, saying it was being utilised for purposes other than education. The college is in the eye of a storm over alleged irregularities in providing internal marks and harassment of students allegedly by its Principal Lekshmi Nair, daughter of college Chairman N Narayanan Nair, a close relative of a former CPI(M) MLA.
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Though the students launched the strike demanding among others the removal of the Principal, various other issues including land utilisation had been raised later. Talks held to end the stir failed last night even as police booked the Principal under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act on a complaint of harassment by some students who alleged she called them by their caste name. All major political parties including the CPI, a key coalition partner in the CPI(M)-led ruling LDF, have come out openly in support of the students’ agitation. The sources said the inquiry would also cover whether the land was originally allotted to the trust in the present structure that manages the KLA, which claimed itself as a private institution run by a public trust.
The Secretary had also been asked to examine whether the academy used the land allotted for the purpose of education or any other cause. The order for the probe was issued based on two complaints, including one by Achuthanandan, the sources said.
Achuthanandan, who is the Kerala State Administrative Reforms Committee Chairman, in a recent letter has asked the government to take back the land saying it was being utilised for purposes other than education. He also wanted the government to examine the legal aspects of construction of flats in the college land here in association with a private realtor.
According to reports, government assigned around 12 acres of land to the college for educational purposes. BJP National Executive member V Muraleedharan, on a fast in front of the college as part of agitation, welcomed in principle the government order for a probe.
However, he said issues such as question of affiliation of the college and how the college management trust went into the hands of a private group should be looked into. Students belonging to ABVP, KSU, AIYF and also pro-CPI(M) SFI are participating in the agitation, which initially evoked lukewarm response from the Marxist leadership.