THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In what appears to be a shrewd political move ahead of the Pala bypoll, the Left Government has recommended a CBI investigation into the 2006 Titanium graft case involving former chief minister Oommen Chandy, Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala and ex-minister VK Ibrahim Kunju.
While Chandy said he is ready to face any probe, Chennithala termed it a politically-motivated move ahead of the byelection. The Titanium graft case pertains to the alleged corruption to the tune of `66 crore in the implementation of a `256.1-crore pollution control project, in which an effluent treatment plant was set up in the Travancore Titanium Products (TTP), a public sector company.
The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB), which probed the case, suspects shady inter-state and international deals.
The Vigilance team had approached the Interpol seeking assistance in investigation, but it directed the former to do it through diplomatic channels. It prompted the state government to refer the probe to CBI.
According to the VACB, the accused conspired to appoint a consultant, causing undue monetary advantage to the firm and loss to Travancore Titanium. No global tender was invited for the construction of the effluent treatment plant. Even before the first phase was completed, work for the second phase started.
Chandy, Chennithala – who was the then KPCC president – Ibrahim Kunju and former TTP chairman T Balakrishnan are among the accused.
Chandy was the CM during 2004-05 when the corruption allegation surfaced. Though the successive LDF Government continued with the project, it later scrapped it 2007.
Following this, the V S Achuthanandan government had also ordered a vigilance probe into the deal.
Though Chandy was not named in the case first, his name came up in 2011. The Vigilance court issued an order directing further investigation into the case. Later the High Court issued an interim stay on the vigilance court order.