Reprieve for Achuthanandan in land controversy



Kochi: Veteran CPI-M leader VS Achuthanandan, who is the prime accused in a land controversy, Thursday got reprieve when a single-judge bench of the high court quashed the FIR - but the state government decided to go in appeal.

Single-bench judge S.S. Sateeshchandran asked the first information report (FIR) to be cancelled because it had no merit in it.

The court said that it appeared that Achuthanandan misused his office to do favouritism, but there was no proof to validate it. It also pointed out that the investigating officer knew little about the procedure.

The state vigilance had arraigned Achuthanandan as the prime accused in the land controversy involving his relative.

Reacting to the verdict, Achuthanandan said the game plan of both Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Industries Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty to replace him with someone else had failed.

"...See if you can unearth any conspiracy to malign me. The people have now come to know of the truth," said Achuthanandan.

In June last year, the Chandy government ordered a vigilance probe related to the land transfer to T.K. Soman, a relative of Achuthanandan.

The cabinet also decided to cancel the land allotment at Kasargod district to Soman, a former defence official.

The alleged land transfer took place at the fag-end of Achuthanandan's tenure as chief minister in early 2011.

On Wednesday, Chief Minister Chandy and Achuthanandan had lashed out at each other on the case.

Achuthanandan had said that he is being targeted, to which Chandy had replied that the law will take its own course.

State Home and Vigilance Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said they will go for appeal to the appellate authority.

"We always respect the courts and we will certainly go in appeal against the single-bench verdict to the concerned appellate authority," said Radhakrishnan.

IANS