Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan has said that people who now raise allegations about Lulu Mall have been aware of things all through and wondered why they have been silent for the last five years.
Replying to questions at a meet-the-press here on Tuesday, Mr. Achuthanandan said the critics of the mall project might have some new information for making such charges. If so, they could very well come up with the charges. However, Local Administration Minister in his Cabinet Paloli Mohammed Kutty had told him that there was no breach of law in the project. The decision to allot the land, located in the Kalamassery municipal area in Ernakulam, was done after going through all the due processes and getting approval by the Cabinet, he pointed out.
Mr. Achuthanandan said his information was that the land belonging to the Kochi Port Trust was given on lease to NRI businessman M.A. Yusuf Ali after a protracted tender process. He had also read that Mr. Yusuf Ali had offered to return the land if the money he had paid was returned to him, he said. To a question whether there was any substance in the impression that he was backing Mr. Yusuf Ali, the Opposition leader said that was journalists’ interpretation. “This is all your interpretation, I am innocent,” he said.
He also came down heavily on the Congress leadership for its silence in the face of sharp attack from the Nair Service Society and the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam leadership. The leaders of the Congress and UDF did not have the courage to stand up to the leaders of the two communal organisations, Mr. Achuthanandan said.