CM's nod for Vigilance probe against Chennithala, 2 other Congress leaders

CM's nod for Vigilance probe against Chennithala, 2 other Congress leaders
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. File photo
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Thiruvanathapuram: With the central agencies tightening their noose around the state government over a host of embarrassing acts of omission and commission, the ruling Left Democratic Front has been plotting a counter-attack against the opposition. Opposition Congress leaders are the target in the latest salvo.

On Friday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan gave nod for a Vigilance probe against opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala, former ministers V S Sivakumar and K Babu in the wake of fresh revelations made by bar owner Biju Ramesh.

Liquor baron's allegation

The Vigilance investigation is based on Biju Ramesh's recent disclosure that he had paid bribes to Chennithala, Babu and Sivakumar.

The liquor baron had claimed that during the tenure of previous United Democratic Front Government, he had mobilised Rs 10 crore on the instruction of the then excise minister K Babu. Of this Rs Rs 1 crore was given to Chennithala in his office at the KPCC headquarters, Rs 50 lakh to Babu and Rs 25 lakh to Sivakumar through his private assistant.

The bribe was paid to ensure that the government’s policies, whenever they are framed, would not affect the bar owners adversely.

The Vigilance carried out a quick confidential verification of the revelations made by the bar owner and handed over the file to the government seeking permission for a preliminary probe.

File with Governor

Since the case involves bringing the opposition leader too within the purview of the probe, secretary in-charge of vigilance Sanjay Kaul forwarded the file to the Governor to seek his assent. However the Governor has not conveyed his decision yet. A final decision will be taken only after getting Governor's permission.

However, it is learnt that there will be no probe into Biju Ramesh's charge that Jose K Mani had offered him Rs 10 crore for withdrawing allegations related to the bar bribery case.

Meanwhile, the opposition UDF alleged that the government which is on the back foot because of the ongoing probe by central agencies is targeting the opposition leaders to divert the people's attention ahead of local body polls.

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