The vigilance court here Thursday ordered a probe against top CPI-M leaders V.S. Achuthanandan, Pinarayi Vijayan and two others for hiring lawyers from outside the state to argue cases in the Kerala High Court.
The court's order came after hearing a petition filed by one P. Raju that said the Communist Party of India-Marxist leaders hired lawyers from outside Kerala even though competent lawyers were available in the state, and that the Rs.3 crore fee paid to them was charged to the government account.
The court directed the probe team to submit its preliminary report by Oct 22.
The lawyers were hired to argue the SNC Lavalin case, in which Vijayan has been named an accused and the infamous Kozhikode ice cream sex scandal case, which was pursued by Achuthanandan on the ground that present Industries Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty was involved in it but got away using his influence.
The cases came up for hearing at the Kerala High Court during Achuthanandan's tenure as chief minister from 2006 to 2011.
The other two leaders whose role is to be probed are former state ministers Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and M. Vijayakumar.
Reacting to the court order, Balakrishnan said the move was to settle political scores as the CPI-M has been demanding Chief Minister Oommen Chandy's resignation after some of his staffers were found to be in close touch with an accused involved in a solar scam.