Land case: VS’s PA grilled
Opposition Leader V S Achuthanandan’s Personal Assistant A Suresh on Saturday appeared before the Vigilance and Anti-corruption Bureau (VACB) North Zone officials for questioning in the case related to the transfer of 2.33 acres of land to the name of T K Soman, a relative of VS, in Kasargod. A team of officials led by VACB North Zone SP P Habeeb Rahman recorded the statement of Suresh in an hour-long questioning here.
This is the second time that Vigilance officials are taking statements from him, who is the eighth accused in the case.
Vigilance officials maintained that the questioning was based on the statement of former Land Revenue Commissioner K R Muraleedharan that Suresh had put pressure on him to take a decision favouring Soman, when he replied to the then Chief Minister that this would be difficult as the provision for allotting land to retired Defence Services personnel had undergone changes.
Vigilance officials also found that Suresh had communicated with Muraleedharan so many times regarding the issue. Sources with the Vigilance said that though he was directed to appear after July 28, Suresh intimated them to be present on Saturday itself and cooperated with them during the questioning.
Later, Suresh told mediapersons here that the case was fabricated by the UDF to tarnish the image of VS. He added that he had already moved Supreme Court and would continue the legal battle.
Earlier, Muraleedharan also revealed that the then chief minister had called him to his residence and inquired about the steps that could be possibly taken to allot land to Soman, before the Chief Judicial First Class Magistrate, Thiruvananthapuram. Vigilance sources maintained that Muraleedharan, who is the third accused at present, would be made an approver in the case.
There are a total of eight accused in the case in which VS has been named the first accused. The other accused are former Revenue Minister K P Rajendran, K R Muraleedharan, Principal Secretary to the then Chief Minister Sheila Thomas, T K Soman, former Kasargod collectors Krishnan Kutty and Anand Singh, and A Suresh.
According to the norms, when land is given to people in the Defence category, it should not exceed more than one acre.
But Soman was given 2.33 acres in Kasargod district. It is learned that the investigators obtained crucial clues that the former Chief Minister had conspired and connived with the other accused to favour his kin in the allotment of government land.