FIR against Congress MLA Mathew Kuzhalnadan, 20 others over alleged illegal land dealings in Kerala

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.

BySouth First Desk

Published May 08, 2024 | 11:13 PM Updated May 08, 2024 | 11:13 PM

Mathew Kuzhalnadan. (SK Mohan)

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

A senior VACB officer said on Wednesday, 8 May, 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, 7 May, he said.

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.

Also Read: Vigilance court dismisses Cong MLA Kuzhalnadan plea against Veena’s firm

Congress MLA’s allegations against Vijayan’s daughter

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 ₹1.72 crore to the chief minister’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”.

The vigilance court on Monday, 6 May, rejected Kuzhalnadan’s plea for an investigation against Vijayan over the financial transactions between CMRL and Veena’s IT firm.

The court stated that necessary facts constituting corruption were absent in it.

Also Read: Non-bailable charges registered against mayor, MLA on KSRTC driver’s complaint

‘Will continue to fight’

Kuzhalnadan had initially approached the Special Vigilance Court, saying the Vigilance Department refused to probe the financial transactions between CMRL and Veena’s company, Exalogic.

Later, he changed his stance and sought a court-monitored probe into the alleged financial transactions.

The Congress MLA said while he was disappointed by the court’s decision, his confidence was unaffected and he would continue to fight by filing an appeal against the order.

He said that this was not a plea for punishing the chief minister, rather it was a petition seeking a probe into the alleged corruption by the Marxist veteran.

The Muvattupuzha MLA contended that following the court order, he was crucified for his fight against corruption.

Meanwhile, LDF convener EP Jayarajan claimed that Kuzhalnadan’s allegations against the chief minister and the plea in court were aimed at outshining the Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly VD Satheesan.

Jayarajan said Kuzhalnadan’s efforts have become futile due to the court order and demanded his resignation.

The Congress has been targeting the chief minister, his daughter, and CPI(M) after the allegations by the Malayalam daily surfaced, about the deal between the CMRL and Veena.

(Edited by Shauqueen Mizaj, with PTI inputs)