FIR against Congress MLA over alleged illegal land dealings in Kerala

Congress MLA Mathew Kuzhalnadan
Congress MLA Mathew Kuzhalnadan

Idukki (Kerala) | An FIR has been lodged by the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau against Congress MLA Mathew Kuzhalnadan and 20 others in connection with alleged illegal conversion and registration of land in Chinnakanal area of this hilly Kerala district.

A senior VACB officer said on Wednesday that a preliminary enquiry by the agency found that the Muvattupuzha MLA's resort was located on surplus land which could not have been converted or registered.

The land in question was converted and registered much before Kuzhalnadan purchased it in 2020, but it is suspected he was aware about it when he bought it, the officer said.

Hence, the MLA has been arrayed as the 16th accused in the case which was registered on Tuesday, he said.

Reacting to the development, Kuzhalnadan claimed that just like Narendra Modi uses the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against his political opponents, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan uses the VACB.

"What is the ED to Modi, the VACB is to Pinarayi Vijayan. Anyone who points out his (Vijayan) mistakes, their voices are silenced by using government agencies just like Modi does," the Congress MLA alleged.

He further alleged that he was already facing numerous investigations by various state government departments.

Kuzhalnadan contended that he will not be demoralised or his confidence shaken by all these cases, allegations or cyber bullying and he will not back down from his fight against the alleged corruption of the CM.

Besides Kuzhalnadan, three retired government servants, including a former Tehsildar of the area, and five in-service government employees are also arrayed as accused in the FIR, the officer said.

"The FIR was submitted in the vigilance court today," he added.

The officer also said that besides the issue of alleged illegal conversion and registration of the surplus land, Kuzhalnadan is also in unlawful possession of 53 cents of government land which had been encroached upon by the previous owners.

The accused in the FIR have been booked for various offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, the IPC and the Land Conservancy Act, the officer said.

Allegations of illegalities in connection with Kuzhalnadan's resort in Chinnakanal area of Idukki district cropped up after he accused Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's daughter, Veena T, and her now defunct IT firm of receiving monthly payments from a private mining company.

Kuzhalnadan's accusations came in the wake of a Malayalam daily's report that the Kochi-based mining company CMRL had paid a total of Rs 1.72 crore to the CM's daughter between 2017 and 2020.

The report cited the ruling of an interim board for settlement and said that CMRL previously had an agreement with Veena's IT firm for consulting and software support services.

It was also alleged that though no service was rendered by her firm, the amount was paid on a monthly basis "due to her relationship with a prominent person."

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