Vijayan takes fight into enemy camp, orders Vigilance probe against Chennithala
Thiruvananthapuram, November 21, 2020
On expected lines, beleaguered Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who is mired in grave scams and allegations, on Saturday took the fight into enemy camp, as he gave nod for a vigilance probe against his biggest political adversary.
Vijayan okayed investigations against Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala in an yesteryear case from 2015-16 that had created a huge furore.
Known as the bar scam of 2015, it had jolted the Congress' regime under Oommen Chandy creating huge political noise in Kerala when a bar owner Biju Ramesh alleged that huge sums of money were paid to then Finance Minister K. M. Mani, which eventually led to his resignation following an adverse high court remark.
The same case has resurfaced, after Biju Ramesh last month said that money was paid to then State Congress party president Chennithala, State Ministers K. Babu (Excise) and V. S. Sivakumar (Health) -- all Congress leaders.
What appears even more surprising is Biju Ramesh has also pointed out that at the height of the case then, son of K. M. Mani -- Jose K. Mani -- had offered him Rs 10 crore, if he withdrew his allegations.
The reason why there has been no probe into this revelation is because Jose K. Mani, last month left the Congress led-UDF and was given a rousing welcome into the Vijayan-led Left Democratic Front.
As soon as the fresh allegations resurfaced, a preliminary probe was conducted into it by Vigilance and a note was given that a detailed probe needs to be done and for this Vijayan has given the nod.
The only hitch that remains now for the probe to begin is it has to get the clearance from the Kerala Governor, for which the papers have already been sent to the Raj Bhawan.
The then senior high ranking police official Vinson M. Paul who conducted the probe then, on Saturday said that none has been able to go forward on his findings, that this case has no merit.
Vijayan has come under severe attack from Chennithala and it has intensified with the surfacing of the gold smuggling case in July and the Congress leader has on numerous occasions demanded the resignation of the Chief Minister.
State Congress president Mullapally Ramachandran said Vijayan after being caught in numerous scams has lost his bearings and is now engaged in political vendetta.
"This very same bar scam was probed by the very same Left government on four occasions and there was nothing found.
"Everyone knows right from the Sprinklr controversy, Chennithala has been raging a crusade against the wrong doings of the Vijayan government, hence what's happening now is least surprising.
"Right now there is news that two of Vijayan's cabinet colleagues are alleged to be the owners of over 200 acres of land in Maharashtra and they are 'benami' properties.
"Will Vijayan probe this too and also the allegations against Jose K. Mani," asked Ramachandran.
Incidentally, the Vijayan government has arrested two legislators of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), V. K. Ebrahim Kunju, in the Palarivattom flyover collapse case and M. C. Kamrudeen, wherein he is alleged to have cheated numerous investors, but he is silent on a complaint against a Left-supported legislator who has allegedly cheated to the tune of Rs 50 lakh.
All this comes as the backdrop to the local body polls to be held in December.