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Widen scope of probe: Oommen Chandy

By Our Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, JUNE 5. The UDF convener, Oommen Chandy, today urged the Chief Minister, A. K. Antony, to widen the scope of the current investigations into the clashes that occurred outside the venue of the aborted KPCC executive meeting so as to include his role in the episode as sought by the veteran Congress leader, K. Karunakaran.

In another letter to the KPCC acting-president, P. P. Thankachan, Mr. Chandy demanded disciplinary action against those who were involved in the incident. He also wanted the KPCC and the party high command to take necessary steps in this regard.

Mr. Chandy said he had been put to greater difficulty owing to the fact that the two former KPCC general secretaries, Rajmohan Unnithan and Saratchandra Prasad, both victims of attack by hired goons, had come to the venue on the basis of the assurances given by him and Mr. Arayadan Mohammed.

"You must have noticed the demand of the senior Congress leader, K. Karunakaran, that my involvement should also be investigated. This should be viewed very serious and given importance. It is therefore imperative to probe whether I have any kind of role in any circumstances in the episode," Mr. Chandy said.

It has become a necessity for the Congress, the UDF and all law-abiding citizens to book all those who were overtly or covertly associated with the deplorable incident. He urged the Chief Minister to take steps to ensure that those who had torn apart democratic values and Congress traditions are brought before the law.

Mr. Chandy's written appeal to Mr. Thankachan was almost identical, with references to disciplinary action being the only difference. Mr. Chandy had been smarting under Mr. Karunakaran's demand for a probe into his role. He had held a press conference on Friday demanding the widening of the scope of the probe to include himself. Today, he followed it up with a written appeal, even while admitting that the entire incident had put him and Mr. Mohammed in a spot.

`Expel Muraleedharan'

The former KPCC general secretary, Rajmohan Unnithan, who is convalescing in the Medical College Hospital here, today demanded the expulsion of the former KPCC president, K Muraleedharan from the party for his alleged involvement in the clash. He demanded that Mr. Muraleedharan and his supporters' should be arrested for their alleged involvement in the clash.

Mr. Unnithan told reporters that the party had always followed the convention of taking disciplinary action against those who had been named in criminal cases. Mr. Muraleedharan had been named as the first accused in the FIR filed by the police. He said he was for any kind of probe into the incident. It had been clearly established that Mr. Muraleedharan and three KPCC general secretaries were behind the incident and there was every possibility that they might influence the course of investigation unless they were arrested. He said Mr. Karunakaran was now enthusiastic in his support for the Chief Minister, A. K. Antony, because he wanted to save his son from being punished.

Probe conspiracy theory: The Youth Congress vice president, Johnson J. Odakkal, today demanded the Government to probe whether there was any conspiracy behind the attack. He told reporters in Kochi that the entire episode was pre-planned.

He said if the probe was conducted on the basis of the FIR, which contained several names of "innocent" persons like the Kasaragod Youth Congress president, Vinod Kumar, the real culprits might escape. Alleging that the goondas were engaged by Saratchandra Prasad and Rajmohan Unnithan, Mr. Johnson said though the duo were not injured, they had been admitted to the intensive care unit of a hospital, in accordance with the plot. The goondas had attacked only the vehicle, which was driven away immediately and brought back half-an-hour later, he said.

The statements of K. Sudhakaran and P. C. Chacko, soon after the incident, were aimed at implicating K. Muralidharan rather than tracking down the culprits. The vehicle used by Mr. Unnithan and Mr. Prasad belonged to an abkari contractor, he said.

Involvement denied: The Ernakulam district secretary of the Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithy, C. A. Jaleel, has denied his involvement in the attack. Mr. Jaleel told reporters in Kochi today that he had not gone to Thiruvananthapuram during the last 10 days.

However, he admitted that he had connections with political leaders like N. Venugopal. Mr. Jaleel, a former DYFI leader, said he had no criminal background.

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