Says probe has reached Chief Minister’s office

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s resignation is imperative as his continuance in power will impede the smooth progress of the investigation into the solar scam, CPI(M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan has said.

Mr. Vijayan told reporters here on Sunday that the inquiry had reached the Chief Minister’s office and the resignation demand was more a legal and technical need than an ethical one.

A member of his personal staff who was arrested had admitted that certain higher-ups of the office were also involved in the issue. The complainant, Sreedharan Nair, had said that he had paid Rs.40 lakh at the Chief Minister’s office. He would not have paid such a huge sum to one member of the personal staff and it was meant for others too, Mr. Vijayan said.

The inquiry officials would need to prepare a ‘mahasar’ at the Chief Minister’s office in the presence of the accused and he would have to be questioned. Being the head of the State, his continuance in power would affect the functioning of the team that would turn out to be a farce, he said. Mr. Chandy’s obstinacy was proof of his role in the scam, he added.

The Congress leadership should also make clear its stance. Had Mr. Chandy taken the lead in expelling the guilty once the scandal broke out, it would have been more convincing. The steady flow of evidence had upset his claims. On turning down the demand for resignation and a judicial inquiry, the Opposition would step up its agitation, he said.

Thettayil issue

Referring to the demand for Jose Thettayil’s resignation as MLA, Mr. Vijayan said a section of the media was trying to create a smokescreen and there was no need for him to resign. When such allegations were raised against the late P.T. Chacko; former Minister A. Neelalohitadas; Industries Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty; Water Resources Minister P.J. Joseph; and former Minister K.B. Ganesh Kumar they all stepped down as Ministers, but continued as MLAs. Only those wielding executive powers need to demit office as they could influence the probe. The CPI(M) had not retracted from its initial position on the issue. Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan too had adopted the same stance. The Janata Dal(S) would take a final call on the issue, he said.