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Titanium Case Not Likely to Stir up a Hornet’s Nest

Published: 31st August 2014 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st August 2014 05:37 AM   |  A+A-

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : Public curiosity notwithstanding, the twist and turn in the Titanium case is not poised to create much political ripples for various reasons.

The inadequacies in the order passed by the Vigilance court here the other day, shirking to fix any corruption on the part of the political leadership in the case, even as it directed to slap a First Information Report against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and others, leaves many questions unanswered from not only the legal, but political point of view.

It also brings to the fore that irrespective of  the political colour of the governments in power, the state is no exception to the role of a few consultants and middlemen in various deals and

the suspected corrupt nexus with officialdom is a reality.

It has been clearly stated in the Vigilance court order that ‘it cannot be sufficiently said that Chandy had participated in the alleged conspiracy’.

On the basis of the demands made by the complainant in the case, direction to file an FIR against Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala is also there, even when he was not holding any office in the Congress party or  the government at the time of the deal to go in for  high cost pollution control systems and unwanted diversification in lieu of comparatively cheap mechanisms  at one-tenth the cost, during 2004-06,when Chandy was the Chief Minister.The deal which allegedly caused huge pecuniary loss of Rs 121 crore to the state exchequer was pursued vigorously by the LDF Government which rode to power in 2006.

A substantial part of the alleged wasteful cost was released to the consultants also. However,it has not come for much scrutiny by the Vigilance court. Had there been something fishy as alleged in the deal inked during the UDF regime,the succeeding government was duty bound to terminate or modify it and also proceed legally, while ensuring that likely losses for TTP was averted.

The names of Chandy, Chennithala or Ebrahim Kunju didn’t figure in the case instituted in 2006 by the LDF Government. Thus the LDF could also land in a piquant situation at this juncture,as nothing notable and revealing had been attached in the inquiry report now in front of the Vigilance court.

Naturally,an interesting take on such lines in the further course of the case in the same court and even in higher courts, cannot be ruled out. Initial reactions  apart, the Vigilance court order is unlikely to gain political wind against Chandy or the two other Ministers arrayed for slapping FIRs. Not much significance is being added to the  turn of the case by Chandy.

 “Let it come. I’m not concerned or afraid of it. Whatever decision or role I had taken with regard to

the company was in good faith and for the benefit of  the company and the employees,” Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told Express. The IUML leadership has also taken court arrows at Minister V K Ebrahim Kunju only lightly.

Only small fries across the political spectrum have joined the chorus led by Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan, baying for the resignation of the Chief Minister. Everyone was expecting KPCC president V M Sudheeran to quiver the pitch and regain strength and spirits after Chandy upstaged everyone in the bar issue, but is apparently lying low.Incidentally, it was at Sudheeran’s initiative the suspension of K K Ramachandran Master from the party, handed out in 2011 soon after levelling the charges of corruption against Chandy and Chennithala, was revoked recently.

“Ramachandran had a grudge against Chandy and Chennithala and plotted to build a case against them.It will not hold ground,” quipped KPCC vice-president M M Hassan.

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