THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Ushering in a new spell of trouble for the government already being embroiled in the gold-smuggling case, the Vigilance court here has ordered a probe into the mining of flood-accumulated sand from Triveni bank in Pampa. The order was issued on the basis of a complaint filed by Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala, who had knocked on the judiciary’s doors after the state denied his demand for a Vigilance probe. He had alleged corruption in awarding the contract to a Kannur-based firm to mine and transport sand.
Chennithala demanded a Vigilance probe after reports emerged that former Chief Secretary Tom Jose, current Chief Secretary Viswas Mehta, and State Police Chief Loknath Behera had flown to Pampa in a helicopter taken on wet lease from Pawan Hans and conducted a meeting to finalise the deal.
The government, however, justified its action saying it decided to mine sand under the Disaster Management Act. The court, however, observed that it did not require the government’s permission to order a probe. The Vigilance was also directed to file the preliminary report within 45 days.