Kerala CM protecting forest, land mafia: Congress

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Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 4 (UNI) Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President Ramesh Chennithala today alleged that Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan was protecting forest and land mafia in the Merchiston Estate issue.

Addressing reporters here, he accused the Chief Minister of contradicting the stand he had taken in the issue as the Leader of the Opposition.

Stating that the Government had no clear vision or stand on the issue, he alleged that the hasty legal steps against the Merchiston land deal had no legal validity and it was only to help the individual who owned the land.

Mr Chennithala said it was quite strange that a vigilance probe had been ordered into the issue with ''terms of reference'', as there was no such precedent. The investigating officer had full rights in the matter to be investigated.

Alleging that such an investigation was to protect the Forests Minister, he said the KPCC would intensify the agitations till the Government ordered a judicial or a CBI inquiry.

Meanwhile, Kerala High Court stayed for three weeks an eviction notice issued to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) by the Divisional Forest Officer, Thiruvananthapuram, to vacate the land bought by it in Merchiston Estate to set up the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IISST).

UNI

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