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Kerala TV sting alleges CPI hand in glove with land mafia

 Thiruvanthapuram, April 2: A sting operation by a leading Kerala-based TV channel claims to have exposed an “unholy alliance” between the Revenue Department officials and real estate brokers with the active support of ruling CPI’s Wayad district unit. The Communist Party of India (CPI) is the second largest ally of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) government. On hearing the news, party’s state secretary Kam Rajendran, who has been quite vocal about the alleged corruption of previous Oommen Chandy government and projecting the CPI’s tough stand on corruption, said he would ask for a detailed probe into this.

As soon as the news spread, Revenue Minister E. Chandrasekheran on Monday ordered a probe and asked Wayad District Collector S. Suhas to suspend the Deputy Collector, who is alleged to have facilitated usurping of the government land in the district. The expose shows an Asianet TV channel team posing as a group of businessmen looking for a particular piece of land in the district to build a resort. They first approach Kunju Mohammed, a real estate broker, who takes them to Wayad Deputy Collector T. Somthan and some CPI district leaders, including its Wayad unit secretary Vijayan Cherukara. Mohammed connects them with Somthan and Cherukara, and the latter using his influence gets access to the state secretariat.
The visuals — besides the audio of conversation between Mohammed, Somthan and Cherukara — try to establish that there is an unholy alliance between them to allegedly usurp the government land. Chandrasekheran told the media that the probe had already begun into the expose. Suhas, on his part, has decided to seal the two revenue offices in Wayad to see that the probe is not hampered.
As soon as the news broke out, angry youth wing activists of both Congress and Bharatiya Jata Party (BJP) took out protest marches to the Wayad Collectorate, while the youth wing of the CPI-M demanded a thorough probe into the whole episode. Former state Congress president V.M. Sudheeran said it was most unfortute. (IANS)

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Ankur Kalita