KALPETTA: The state government has suspended Wayanad Deputy Collector (land acquisition) T Somnathan, who allegedly facilitated the usurping of government land in the district.The move comes close on the heels of an exposé by a TV news channel showing an “unholy alliance” between Revenue Department officials and real estate brokers with the active support of the ruling CPI’s district unit.
District Collector S Suhas has appointed Sub-Collector (Mananthavady) N S K Umesh to conduct a detailed inquiry into the allegations against the Deputy Collector. He has been directed to submit a report at the earliest.
Two offices of the Revenue Department functioning at the District Collectorate — Mananthavady Taluk Land Board office and office of the Deputy Collector (land acquisition) — have been temporarily shut down.A district press release said Suhas has informed that the officer has been suspended in the wake of an ongoing probe.
Earlier, Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan had ordered a probe into the exposé and asked Suhas to suspend the Deputy Collector. The exposé shows the 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 real estate broker Kunju Mohammed, who takes them to Deputy Collector Somnathan and CPI district leaders, including Wayanad unit secretary Vijayan Cherukara.
Mohammed connects them with Somnathan and Cherukara. The latter, using his influence, gets access to the state Secretariat. The visuals, besides the audio clip of the conversation between Mohammed, Somnathan and Cherukara, try to establish that there is an unholy alliance between them to allegedly usurp the government land.
Meanwhile, Cherukara held a press meet on Monday in which he denied the allegations. “The allegations against me are baseless. The allegations will be fought legally,” he said. “This person approached me seeking help for a new project in the tourism sector. He said there were some problems with acquiring land for the project. I informed him of help — whatever that can be done legally. The visuals aired by the TV channel are incomplete. This is an attempt to defame the LDF government. Let there be a detailed probe. I will quit public life if proven guilty.”
CPI will look into the allegations: Kanam
T’Puram: The CPI will look into the allegations that have surfaced against its Wayanad district secretary, said party state secretary Kanam Rajendran. In the wake of the allegations that showed the party in a bad light, the CPI leadership will meet in Wayanad to discuss the issue. Kanam added that Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan has been asked to take strict action against those responsible. Chandrasekharan said a detailed investigation will be carried out. Once the probe is completed, a decision will be taken on the follow-up action. He also wondered whether there’s any conspiracy to defame the CPI.