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NEW DELHI: Tainted Kerala cabinet minister Thomas Chandy today resigned after the Kerala high court yesterday chastised him for filing a petition against his own government. He added, though, that he will soon be back in the state cabinet.
This is the third minister who is resigning from the LDF government after it came to power in 2016.
Chandy is accused of environmental violations in Kerala at a resort in Alappuzha, ‘Lake Palace Resort’, which he owns. He had filed a petition in the Kerala high court against a report filed by Alappuzha’s district collector, which detailed Chandy’s alleged violations.
A cabinet minister approaching a court against the state government – the district collector in this case – goes against the constitutional principle of collective responsibility of the cabinet, the Kerala High Court said yesterday while dismissing Chandy’s petition.
Chandy made it clear that he would be approaching the Supreme Court to remove the comments made against him by the High Court. He said once he is exonerated he will be back in the state cabinet. “
“The chief minister has assured us that the cabinet berth for the party will be kept vacant until I come out clean,” said Chandy.
Chandy belongs to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which is part of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) coalition government that is in power in Kerala.
Alappuzha’s district collector said in his report that they found largescale violations of the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act, in the luxury lake resort owned by Chandy.
Chandy succumbed to pressure from the CPI – also part of the LDF – which stayed away from a cabinet meeting to protest Chandy. The party’s revenue minister E Chandrashekaran gave a letter to the chief minister before the cabinet meeting saying that they are not ready to attend the meeting in the presence of Chandy.
The resignation of Chandy was handed over to the chief minister by NCP state president Peethambaran Master. Earlier in the day, Chandy and Master met chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The chief minister gave time for the NCP leaders to have discussions with their national leadership on the possible resignation by Chandy.