Opposition attacks Kerala government over land scam

March 5th, 2008 - 1:02 am ICT by admin  

Thiruvananthapuram, March 4 (IANS) Kerala’s Leader of Opposition Oommen Chandy Tuesday said he has written to Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan on the “grave lapses” the government committed in an affidavit, filed with the Kerala High Court on the HMT land scam. “According to the Kerala Land Reforms Act, none can hold more than 15 acres of land and this for some reason has not been mentioned in the affidavit that the state government has filed,” Chandy told reporters here.

The controversy is about the sale of 70 acres of land by public sector undertaking Hindustan Machine Tools (HMT) to Mumbai-based Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL) to build Rs.40 billion ($1 billion) Cyber City in Kochi.

In the wake of the controversy, the state government filed an affidavit last week fully supporting the legality of the sale of the land by HMT and requested the court to dismiss the writ petition challenging lad deal.

“Achuthanandan who often criticises the so-called land mafia took a U-turn in this case. When this case first surfaced, he said he would not even hesitate to take over the land. Then he ordered a probe by the chief secretary and from media reports it is understood that the report asked the government to take the land back,” said Chandy.

“Now he says let the Court decide. People of Kerala are wondering over this change in Achuthanandan’s stand. Since the matter is in the court, our future course of action would be decided after the court comes out with its verdict. We are very clear that the sale is illegal,” added Chandy.

Ever since the scam broke out in January, the opposition has been demanding the ouster of Industry Minister Elamaram Kareem and Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran, who approved the project.

Achuthanandan added to the controversy by staying away from the project’s foundation laying ceremony in early January. He then said the IT department, which he holds, had not cleared the project.

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