Kerala to get new minister by Friday


Thiruvananthapuram : The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala Monday said it had given its ally Kerala Congress-Joseph an ultimatum to nominate a minister on or before Friday in place of T.U Kuruvilla who resigned in August.

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“We have asked the party to see that they nominate a minister and at the moment I am unable to see whether it would be P.J. Joseph or not,” LDF convenor Vaikom Viswom told reporters after a meeting of the Front here.

The Kerala Congress (J) had Kuruvilla as their nominee in Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan’s cabinet till August when he was forced to resign in the wake of a land scam involving his children.

Kuruvilla replaced Joseph in September 2006 after the latter quit the cabinet over allegations that he misbehaved with a woman on board a Chennai-Kochi flight in August 2006.

The Chennai police have registered a case against him after the woman filed a complaint. The inquiry is still underway.

Achuthanandan last year announced a judicial probe into the incident and last week reiterated that the investigation would be conducted. But the scenario seems to have changed now.

“The complainant herself has expressed that she is not keen on a judicial probe. So at the moment we have given the party time till Friday to come up with their nominee. About the judicial probe, it would be decided later,” Viswom said.

The chief minister ordered a judicial probe after Inspector General of Police B. Sandhya submitted a report indicting Joseph, who then expressed reservations about the investigation.

But no inquiry officer has been appointed till date. Joseph’s party is to meet Tuesday on its future course of action.