CCTV footage key evidence in Vigilance probe into cash gift by Thrikkakara civic chief

CCTV footage key evidence in Vigilance probe into cash gift by Thrikkakara civic chief

Kakkanad: The Kochi unit of the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau has found lapses on the part of Thrikkakara municipal chairperson Ajita Thankappan in connection with the Onam cash gift controversy.

The officials are awaiting the nod of the Vigilance director to register the case and go ahead with further probe.

The Kochi unit has conveyed its finding to the Vigilance director in its confidential report. However, the Vigilance team has not disclosed the extent of lapses on the part of the chairperson at this stage.

The Vigilance team had prepared the preliminary report on the basis of the visuals recorded from the municipality, the information conveyed in the complaints filed by 18 councillors and the audio-video footage aired through the media. The inputs collected by the Intelligence agencies and the Crime Branch were also handed over to the Vigilance. The CCTV camera footage reportedly turned decisive in the matter.

Many of the councillors who came out of municipal chairperson's office were clearly seen carrying packets in their hands. Since these include councillors who filed complaints, this footage can be taken as evidence.

With the footage of other councilors lacking clarity, digital forensic examination would be required to ascertain whether they too are carrying the same packets or something else in their hands.

The further investigations would focus on the source of money once statements and associated evidence regarding money transfer are obtained by the officials. According to the investigation team, there would be more clarity on the issue once the statement of the chairperson is recorded.

If any individual or establishment is found to have given money to the municipal chairperson, they would also be arraigned in the case. Besides, if it is found that the money was given to the chairperson to get a particular work done, then the case would be registered under the relevant sections of Prevention of Corruption Act.

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