THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : After a prolonged spell of calm on the political surface, the bribe-for-bar controversy has further erupted the political volcano in the Opposition camp with the CPM being faced with an apparently solitary but resilient fight from the old warhorse V S Achuthanandan against the state leadership’s decision to reject his call for a CBI probe.
It is reliably learnt that the Opposition Leader is planning to write to the party central leadership against the state leadership’s move to bail out Finance Minister K M Mani by rejecting his call for a CBI probe and raising the demand for a court-monitored SIT probe into the allegations that Mani had accepted bribe from bar owners.
The official leadership earlier on Wednesday took the stand that in the given situation a CBI probe would not benefit the party as the BJP Government could influence the probe. Further, the CBI could be used to make Mani sever ties with the UDF and join hands with the BJP for a coalition. CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan who briefed the media, however, said there was no difference of opinion in the party and some leaders were making their personal opinions and now everything is clear to everyone. Rejecting Achuthanandan’s demand for a CBI inquiry, the CPM state secretariat on Wednesday called for a court-monitored probe by a Special Investigation Team (SIT).
Pinarayi said the party’s stand was that there should be a SIT probe headed by a senior police officer under the supervision of the court.
“The Vigilance Department is an agency with little credibility. The suggestion of a Vigilance probe is not at all acceptable as the past experiences had shown that it could not function independently. They will succumb to political pressures,” he said.
The CPM leader said the proposal for a CBI probe is also unacceptable as the Supreme Court also had pointed out that the agency was a caged parrot. On the need for judicial probe, Pinarayi said the party considered it to be an impractical one as in the given situation the High Court would not spare the services of a sitting judge. Such a demand could cause only undue delay, he said. To withstand political pressure and bring out the truth, the best option is to constitute a SIT under a senior officer which functions directly under the supervision of the court, he said.
However, he did not answer when pointed out that the SIT also would be from the state police and under the control of the government.
To a question whether the CPM had a soft corner for K M Mani and whether it was hopeful of KC(M) severing ties with the UDF and joining the LDF, he said from the beginning of the controversy he was calling for the resignation of Mani and what he had added was the demand for a court-monitored SIT probe. The CPM leader added that there was no possibility of Mani joining the LDF.
‘RSP, SJD are UDF Partners’
Referring to the calls made by Achuthanandan that RSP and SJD should be brought back to the LDF fold immediately, Pinarayi said the RSP and Socialist Janata Democratic (SJD) are parties of the same category to which UDF coalition parties belong. He went on to say that the CPM had an established stand which was against encouraging horse-trading and toppling of governments.
Pinarayi Quotes Jnanappana Quoting from Poonthanam’s Jnanappana, he said his party had not been ambitious of claiming positions of power.
Referring to the CPI’s demand for a judicial probe and convening LDF meeting, he said he did not know what actually prompted Pannian Raveendran to call for an LDF meeting through the media.