Mani refuses to step down; Chandy defends case against him
A defiant M M Mani today refused to step down from CPI-M's organisational post in the wake of his controversial speech that the party had eliminated its foes in the past even as Chief Minister Oommen Chandy justified the criminal case slapped against him.
"There is no question of my quitting the party post unless it is so decided by the party at then highest level," Mani, who has kept away from the public eye for the last few days, told reporters in Idukki.
Mani, who is CPI-M's Idukki district secretary, also refuted reports of having gone into hiding after police booked a case against him for his speech last week at Thodupuzha where he said CPI-M had prepared a list and eliminated three rivals in Idukki district in the 1980s.
"I have been in politics for over four decades. I do not consider the present controversy as a big issue. We will face it legally and politically", he said.
Police had yesterday pasted the notice issued to Mani asking him to appear for questioning before the SIT at his residence and the party's district committee office.
A case had been registered against Mani last week on charges of murder, abetment and concealing information based on his speech at Thodupuzha.
In Kochi, Chandy told reporters that Mani had questioned the rule of law.
"If no case had been registered (against Mani), people would have questioned the government, he said.
DGP Jacob Ponnose said in Trichur that the investigation in the case was going on smoothly. A Special Investigation Team has been constituted to probe the case, he said.
Meanwhile, CPI state secretary Panniyan Raveendran said Mani's speech was a 'slur' on the Communist movement.
"Communists are humanists. A Communist cannot say that he prepared a list of political enemies and eliminated them," he told a Malayalam news channel.
In a rejoinder to Raveendran's remarks, Mani said the CPI need not meddle in CPI-M's affairs.
The CPI-M leader said the party would resist the "politically motivated" moves of the UDF government to frame him in a criminal case.
Mani also hit back at BJP leader and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for criticising CPI-M, picking on his speech made at Thodupuzha last week. "Modi has no moral right to criticise me....," he said.
Modi had last week come down heavily on CPI-M citing Mani's speech at a public meeting organised by the party.