Thomas Chandy agrees to quit, informs decision to Cabinet

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Battling land grab charges, Kerala Transport Minister Thomas Chandy on Wednesday submitted his resignation to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who forwarded it to the Governor.

This was stated by Chandy after a almost 40 minute meeting with Vijayan at Cliff House, the CM's official residence this morning.

Earlier in the day, the CPI - the second largest party in the ruling coalition - persisted with calls for the minister's ouster by directing four of its ministers to stay away from a Cabinet meeting attended by him (Chandy).

The Kerala High Court yesterday rejected Chandy's plea in connection with the case. But Chandy, the richest cabinet member and the sole NCP minister, remains in place.

CPI wanted immediate resignation of Chandy.

Senior lawyer in Supreme Court Vivek Tankha argued that Chandy's petition was in private capacity but the bench pointed out that the first line of the petition itself identifies the petitioner as a minister.

The funds were used to raise the land and make a mud road through the paddy fields but it caught the attention of the media when Rs 28.5 lakhs of Harbour Engineering Fund was diverted to tar the road making the approach road to his Lake Palace Resort more accessible. Chandy came to the Secretariat after calling on the chief minister at the Cliff House.

NCP state president T P Peethambaran handed over Chandy's letter of resignation to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Thomas Chandy can cite technicalities for his decision, but the LDF cannot shrug off its collective responsibility to let the issue dither. On Tuesday, Vijayan told reporters that he has learned about the court order and is in talks with the NCP leadership. Now that the court has made its decision yesterday (Tuesday), Chandy and his party leader T.P. Peetambharan met me in the morning. "Appropriate decision will be taken at the right time", he said. While E.P. Jayarajan, minister for industries and sports, had to leave after facing charges of nepotism past year, A.K. Saseendran, minister for transport, quit following allegations of sexual misconduct in April.

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