Chandy says he is following the precedent established by Communist Party in 1957

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said the State government is willing to take the Opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) into confidence by incorporating its demands in the terms of reference of the proposed judicial inquiry by a sitting judge of the High Court.

He, however, ruled out the question of including the involvement of his office within the purview of the judicial probe since this would be dependent on the extent of the investigations into the solar scam.

Firm stance

Ruling out the question of his resignation as Chief Minister at a press conference convened to announce the judicial inquiry here on Tuesday, Mr. Chandy said he was only following the precedent established by the Communist Party way back in 1957 when a similar demand for a judicial inquiry was made by the then Opposition.

The minister concerned did not quit office neither at the time when the judicial probe was ordered nor after the report came, he said, in an oblique reference to former judge of the Supreme Court V.R. Krishna Iyer’s statement urging him to resign and order a judicial probe. (Mr. Iyer was the Home Minister in the 1957 EMS Ministry).

With regard to the terms of reference of the judicial probe, he said the involvement of his office would not be included since the Opposition LDF had failed to convincingly establish it by producing substantial evidence.

Probe outline

Giving an outline of the terms of reference, Mr. Chandy said the judicial probe would have to focus on when the scam started, who were the people behind it, whether the government had suffered any loss or whether the accused had succeeded in making any pecuniary gains. “We are ready to consider any suggestions of the Opposition that would supplement this,” he said.

In reply to a question, he said the government was not averse to including the 14 cases against the accused since 2006 and the reasons for the delay in filing charge-sheet within the purview of the terms of reference of the judicial probe.

The solar scam pertained to cheating by two persons to the tune of Rs.8 crore.

In the Total for U scam, the total loss suffered was Rs.23 crore.

CPI general secretary Prakash Karat did not have anything to state about the Saradha Ponzi scheme in which 14 lakh rural people were duped to the tune of Rs.3,000 crore, Mr. Chandy said and wanted to know why the CPI(M) was silent about it. When asked about the CPI(M)’s stand to continue the strike for his resignation, Mr. Chandy said that it was part of that party’s political agenda.