Land allotment to Achuthanandan’s relative to be probed

June 1st, 2011 - 6:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, June 1 (IANS) The Kerala government Wednesday ordered a vigilance probe into a case of land transfer to a relative of former chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan.

Addressing reporters here after a cabinet meeting, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said all the files related to the land transfer to T.K. Soman were perused by the cabinet before ordering a probe by the vigilance department.

The cabinet also decided to cancel the land allotment, he said.

The land transfer at Kasargode district involving Soman, a former defence official, took place last month at the fag end of Achuthanandan’s tenure as chief minister.

“Normally when land is given to people in the category like Soman, it should not exceed more than an acre but he was given 2.33 acres. Secondly, if the value of land exceeds Rs.50,000, it should have the sanction of the cabinet. Thirdly, such land cannot be sold or transferred for 25 years after allotment,” said Chandy.

He said there were indications that Soman was trying to sell the land allotted to him.

The Congress-led government earlier this month sought a report from the Kasargode collector on the allotment. The report pointed towards violations in the land transfer.

When Achuthanandan was asked about the collector’s report, he said: “Don’t you know for whom has the collector prepared the report.”

Reacting to the Congress government’s order, Left Democratic Front (LDF) leader and former revenue minister K.P. Rajendran said he welcomed the vigilance probe.

The vigilance probe ordered by Chandy comes close on the heels of a police probe ordered earlier into the missing 40,000 answer sheets of an entrance examination held to appoint assistants in the Kerala University in 2006.

After the list of successful candidates was prepared in 2008, when the LDF was in power, there were complaints that of the 160 assistants appointed, 60 were close relatives and friends of leaders in the LDF.

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