Staff Reporter

KASARAGOD: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) State president P.K. Krishnadas has demanded that Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan drop Forests Minister Benoy Viswom from the Cabinet following allegations against him in the Ponmudi land scam and institute an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

At a press conference here on Wednesday, Mr. Krishnadas said the allegation that the Forest Department colluded with a real estate businessman, Xavy Mano Mathew, to help him gain possession of land and resell it to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was serious and unprecedented. A person could take possession of Government land and try to resell it to the Government for profit only if he had the help of powerful persons in the Government, he said. The Government should explain how the land taken over as ecologically fragile land by the Forest Department came under Mathew’s possession. If the land was de-notified, it should have been returned to its original owner, a Kolkata-based company, Mr. Das said.

Only a CBI inquiry could bring out the truth as the persons against whom allegations were raised wielded influence in the Cabinet.