KASARGOD:Attempting to corner the UDF government on corruption, CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has put a poser to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala whether they agree with the “anti-government” statements of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau chief Vinson M Paul.
The DGP-rank officer had said those investigating corruption cases were being pressured and threatened with transfers. “These statements were clearly against the government. Does the chief minister and the home minister agree with him?” he said, reminding that the last time a high-ranking officer (Alexander Jacob, DGP, Prisons) criticised the government, he was removed from the post. Speaking to reporters at the Kasargod Press Club on Monday, Kodiyeri said Finance Minister K M Mani was booked in the bar bribery case five months ago, and he was yet to be indicted. “Mani had told the chief minister if he is named in the charge sheet, he will pull the plug on the government. That’s what Vinson Paul meant when he said pressure,” the CPM state chief said.He said usually officials made such statements in their autobiography after retirement. “But Vinson Paul made the statement as Vigilance chief and it should be taken seriously,” Kodiyeri said.The allegations against Excise Minister K Babu should be probed separately and not clubbed with Mani’s, he said. “Babu took Rs 10 crore to reduce the bar licence fees. Mani took bribe to change the abkari policy. Both are different cases and should be probed separately,” he said.
To be sure, the bribery allegations against Babu and Mani were made by bar owner Biju Ramesh. Legal experts said a booking of a case was warranted because the statement was recorded under Section 164 of CrPC.
However, Babu had said if he was booked, he would step down as minister, Kodiyeri said, adding, “that’s what Vinson Paul meant when he meant pressure”. Quoting the VACB chief, the CPM leader said more than 1,200 corruption cases were pending in four Vigilance courts. “The unholy nexus between corrupt politicians and bureaucrats was not allowing the proper functioning of the department,” he said.
The poliburo member said the two ministers should be dropped so that the allegations made by Ramesh could be properly investigated.
The CPM leader said that the political ambience in the state has vitiated since theUDF came to power. “In the pastfour years, 25 CPM workers were murdered. There’s no protection even for workers of ruling front,” he said, referring to the recent killing of a JD(U) activist in Thrissur. Terming the chief minister’s Janasamparka programme as a gimmick, he said CM’s act reminded people of the days of the kings. “Those days, succour was provided to those who personally met the king. Today CM will write cheques for them,” he said.
The poser was put forth by Kodiyeri after Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau chief Vinson M Paul said that those investigating corruption cases were being pressured and threatened with transfers