M.T. George, Kerala Congress (M) nominee, had been handling the case

Advocate General K.P. Dhandapani’s decision to reallocate the controversial State Data Centre case by taking it away from one government standing counsel in the Supreme Court to another on Friday has raised many an eye-brow.

M.T. George, a Kerala Congress (M) nominee, had been handling the State Data Centre case. His brief has now been handed over to M.R. Ramesh Babu, another Supreme Court standing counsel. There had been some complaints against Mr. George that he was not taking instructions related to the case from the AG’s office. At one point of time, the State government had to face embarrassing moments during the court proceedings in the Supreme Court related to the appearance of the AG and the delay in submitting the government’s affidavit in the case.

The decision to re-allot the case brief should be viewed in the context of the moves of Government Chief Whip P.C. George, who had initially made allegations of irregularities in the tenders awarding the establishment of the State Data Centre to the Reliance Group, to implead himself in the case.

The State Data Centre case is now before the Supreme Court in the form of an appeal against the High Court verdict ordering a CBI probe into the deal that allegedly took place during the tenure of V.S. Achuthanandan as Chief Minister.

According to top government sources, the Advocate General had expressed his lack of confidence in Mr. George allegedly because of his close ties with the Government Chief Whip.

He had consulted Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Law Minister K.M. Mani, who is also chairman of the Kerala Congress (M), prior to effecting the reallocation, sources said.

Mr. P.C. George is currently the target of attack in the UDF, including the Congress and his own party, as a result of his style of functioning and statements.

He has been relentlessly pursuing the Data Centre case, even going to the extent of alleging a nexus between Home Minister and business consultant T.G. Nandakumar, who had filed the appeal in the Supreme Court.

Mr. Mani’s concurrence to remove his own nominee has, in fact, given a new dimension to row, sources pointed out.