The Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) was the main focus of attention in the Assembly on Wednesday during the debate on the demand for grants for Home and Forest, in connection with allegations against a member of Oommen Chandy’s staff.

Several Opposition members referred to the allegations in their speeches, but it was left to Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan to pursue it by demanding a response from the Chief Minister.

The allegation was that Mr. Chandy’s personal assistant Tenny Joban was in contact with a woman accused in a criminal case.

The woman, Saritha Nair, was accused of duping several persons by promising solar and wind farms. She had allegedly contacted Mr. Joban more than 70 times on his mobile phone and on the landline of the Chief Minister’s residence, Opposition members said. (She was arrested last week and the news about the telephone contacts was first exposed by Kairali People’s channel.)

CPI(M) member E.P. Jayarajan, who first made the reference on the floor of the House, alleged that the Chief Minister was using the same phone and it was being misused.

The Opposition leader pointed out similar allegations related to the Chief Minister’s Office. He also pointed out that the accused had contacted Mr. Joban’s number over 70 times, including the landlines of the Chief Minister.

She had made attempts to contact the number shortly before she was arrested. This had led to suspicions, he said.

The Chief Minister’s Office was now being connected to corrupt practices, even while Mr. Chandy claimed that his administration was based on transparency, the Opposition leader said.

Probe on: Chandy

Replying to a query on the complaints raised against one of the members of the personal staff of the Chief Minister, Mr. Chandy said inquiry is on and there will be no intervention.

“I have an open policy. Lapses will be seriously looked into and those who have erred will be brought to the book”, he added.

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