THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The file seeking permission to the CBI to prosecute INTUC state president R Chandrasekharan and former managing director of Kerala State Cashew Development Corporation K A Ratheesh in the Rs 600-crore scam in procuring inferior quality raw cashew nuts from abroad has been pending at the Chief Minister’s Office for more than 15 days.
The CBI had forwarded the file to the chief secretary on May 6, which has since been approved by the vigilance, industries and cashew industry departments. However, the final nod has to come from the CMO though the CBI has already sent a reminder.The state government appointed Ratheesh, who was removed from the post of managing director of INKEL, as the new secretary of Kerala Khadi Board (KKB) six months ago. He is accused of indulging in corruption while procuring raw cashew nuts between 2006 and 2015. The CBI team, which is investigating the case, had asked the state government to remove him from the office before the prosecution steps were initiated.
According to the case, KSCDC officials allegedly flouted norms in awarding the contract to supply raw cashew nuts to a private supplier with the intention of cheating the corporation. The High Court had ordered a CBI investigation following a petition filed by former Kollam secretary of INTUC K Manoj, the whistleblower in the case.
“The CBI had given its recommendation to the chief secretary on May 6 to remove Ratheesh from the office before being prosecuted. The tainted official is currently holding a key post as the secretary of Khadi Board. Accordingly, the vigilance, industries and cashew departments gave their departmental sanction. But the file has been pending with the CMO,” said Manoj.
A CMO official feigned ignorance about the controversial file lying at the office. However, a source at the Cashew Industry Minister J Mercykutty Amma’s office confirmed to TNIE that the file is at the CMO and awaiting final sanction from the chief minister. Both Chandrasekharan and Ratheesh have close ties with the CPM leadership.