Kerala High Court quashes land grabbing case against Oommen Chandy

The Kerala High Court on Friday quashed an FIR registered against former CM Oommen Chandy and others on charges of land grabbing.

Justice Abraham Mathew observed that the FIR, registered by Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau, won’t stand legal scrutiny under the anti-corruption act as it was registered on a “non-existent” case. Former chief secretary E K Bharath Bhushan, one of the accused, had approached the court for quashing the FIR.

As per vigilance bureau, Chandy and others conspired to help a real estate developer occupy 15 cents of government land at Pattoor in Thiruvananthapuram. The builder allegedly occupied the land owned by Kerala Water Authority (KWA) after fabricating documents and Chandy allegedly acted in favour of the builder disregarding the report from KWA.

While Chandy was CM, IPS officer Jacob Thomas reported to Lokayukta that highest authorities in the executive were involved in the case. After LDF came to power, Thomas, who was made VACB director, lodged the case against Chandy and others even as the issue was pending before Lokayukta.

Last month, while considering the plea to quash the FIR, the court asked Thomas to explain the rationale behind lodging the case. However, Thomas hadn’t turned up before the court, which observed that the officer registered the case based on his assumptions instead of evidence. The court said the government can go ahead to reclaim the revenue waste land, allegedly in custody of the builder.

Bhushan said the verdict had relieved me. “The case left me insulted before the public,’’ he said.

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