THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Vigilance Court here on Thursday directed the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) to further investigate the Titanium corruption case by registering an FIR against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala and Public Works Minister Ebrahim Kunju.
While hearing a petition demanding investigation into the role of Chandy, Chennithala and others, the court rejected the VACB’s plea to wind up the probe.
Though the VACB had noted in its preliminary report that a loss of `80 crore was incurred in the implementation of a waste treatment plant at Travancore Titanium Products Ltd here, it didn’t name anyone as accused and ruled out fraud. However, the court directed the VACB to continue the probe and to submit an inquiry report in four months.
The petitioner’s counsel had argued that the VACB was hesitating to register an FIR in the case related to the irregularities in a `256-crore waste treatment plant at Travancore Titanium Products Ltd.
While reacting to the court order, Chandy held the LDF Government responsible for the losses, saying all financial transactions related to the project were made during its tenure. He also said that it was the LDF Government in 2011 that filed a fresh petition naming him, Chennithala and Kunju as accused.
The Chief Minister said that during the previous UDF Government’s tenure, the Cabinet had initiated further steps only when the Supreme Court cautioned the government against running the factory without putting in place pollution control measures. The LDF had delayed the project resulting in the escalation of the cost, he claimed.
Meanwhile, the CPM state committee demanded that Chandy, Chennithala and Kunju should resign immediately.
The party said no impartial probe was possible against the CM and the Home Minister unless they resigned as the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau functioned under the Home Department.
Treatment plant: a costly proposal
The case dates back to the LDF Government’s tenure, during which a proposal for a effluent treatment plant worth `30 cr was prepared. The Chandy-led UDF Government that succeeded it decided in 2006 to implement the project with a revised estimate of `256 cr.