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Kuwait-based Kerala businessman accuses minister of cheating
Kochi (Kerala) | August 22, 2007 8:05:06 PM IST
 
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Kerala businessman K.G. Abraham, who is based in Kuwait, Wednesday accused the state's Public Works Minister T.U. Kuruvilla of cheating him in a land transfer deal. The minister denied the charge.

Abraham said that Kuruvilla and his son-in-law Sudhip John, who was the general manager of Abraham's business in Kuwait, had struck a deal to sell to the businessman 50 acres of land in the picturesque hill station of Munnar in Idukki district.

Abraham said he was given to understand that the minister's three children owned the land.

"His son-in-law works with me and I decided to buy the land at Munnar because I thought I was dealing with close relatives of a Kerala minister. My aim was to build a resort on the land. I handed over Rs.6.75 crores (Rs.67.5 million) as advance," Abraham told reporters here.

Trouble for Kuruvilla started last month when treasury bench legislator P.C. George alleged fraud in the deal and gave a written complaint to Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan.

When the matter came up in the assembly, Kuruvilla said his children own land in Tamil Nadu and the money was accepted because Abraham had bought their land in Tamil Nadu.

Abraham said: "When this became an issue, the (minister's) son and son-in-law came and met me and said that since Kuruvilla is in trouble, they would transfer a quarry owned by them to me, which I flatly denied.

"I was interested only in setting up a hotel in Munnar and hence I paid the advance for the 50-acre plot. Later I came to know that the Munnar land was meant only for cardamom cultivation and a hotel cannot come up there.

"I never expected that a minister would cheat me," said Abraham, adding he would initiate legal steps against the minister soon.

Meanwhile, following George's complaint, Achuthanandan asked Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran to look into the matter.

Rajendran Tuesday directed Idukki collector Raju Narayana Swamy to investigate. Swamy visited Munnar Wednesday to verify documents related to the land owned by Kuruvilla's children.

Rajendran told reporters here that he was awaiting a report on the matter.

On his part, Kuruvilla told reporters at Kannur that he was not at all involved in any deal with Abraham.

"It is my children who are involved in dealing with Abraham. I am not aware of what is happening and I have no role in it," said Kuruvilla.

Abraham flatly denied that. "I have dealt with Kuruvilla and not with his kin. Kuruvilla asked me to transfer the advance money to his children's name."

Kuruvilla, a first-time legislator from Kothamangalam constituency in Ernakulam district, belongs to the Kerala Congress (Joseph) party.

He became a minister almost a year back when P.J. Joseph stepped down as minister after he was alleged to have misbehaved with a woman on board a flight from Chennai to Kochi. (IANS)

 

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