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VS seeks probe into resort sale

By Our Special Correspondent



The Leader of the Opposition, V.S. Achuthanandan, calling on the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, in New Delhi on Friday.

NEW DELHI, OCT. 29. The Leader of the Opposition, V.S. Achuthanandan, today urged the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, to order an inquiry into the sale of the Ashoka Beach Resort in Kovalam by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Government as the building, 2.5 km of beach and 65 acres of prime land worth Rs. 400 crores was sold for a "paltry sum'' of Rs. 43 crores.

Likening the sale of the resort to the "illegal sale'' of the Centaur Airport Hotel in Mumbai, Mr. Achuthanandan sought a comprehensive inquiry when he met the Prime Minister here this evening, along with the former Kerala Speaker, M. Vijayakumar. In fact, the CPI(M) lead- ers were of the view that the cor ruption involved in the sale of the resort was greater than that in the Centaur sale that had cau ght the eye of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

Memorandum

In a three-page memorandum submitted to Dr. Singh, the two CPI(M) leaders said that the resort was among the 10 public sector hotels under the India Tourism Development Corporation and Hotel Corporation of India that had been sold to private parties in 2002 by the NDA Government as part of its "anti-people and anti-national public sector disinvestment policy''.

According to the CPI(M), the sale of the resort also had serious security ramifications. Saying that this area was comparable to the Indo-Pak and Indo-Chinese borders, they pointed out that "if telescopic sources are used, even minute details of the Vikram Sarabai Space Centre, the international airport, Southern Air Command, Army camp and Vizhinjam harbour that have great security and strategic importance can be easily and clearly viewed'' from the resort premises.

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