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Former Kerala chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan, a prime accused in a land grab case, suffered a setback on Thursday when the Kerala High Court refused to quash the First Information Report (FIR) filed in the case.

A single-judge bench of Justice N.K. Balakrishnan said the investigation had just begun and the court was in no position to quash the FIR. The bench said that, if need be, the matter can be raised at the trial court once the chargesheet has been filed.

The Oommen Chandy government had ordered a probe by the vigilance department in June last year after examining all files related to the land transfer to T.K. Soman, a relative of Achuthanandan. The preliminary investigations had named Soman as one of the eight accused.

According to government norms, when land is given to people in the defence category, it should not exceed more than an acre. But Soman was given 2.33 acres.

Among the accused are four IAS officials, including Sheela Thomas, the then principal secretary to Achuthanandan.

The other accused are Suresh, the personal assistant to Achuthanandan and Soman, who had approached the court seeking quashing of the FIR, contending that it was a politically motivated case.

The director general of prosecution T. Asif Ali appeared for the government and strongly opposed the petition of the two accused.

In January, when the case surfaced, the ruling front demanded that Achuthanandan step down as leader of opposition.



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