Achuthanandan hits back at Prithviraj

The blame game over the CVC appointment fiasco refuses to die down with the Kerala government on Thursday asserting that it had not cleared P.J. Thomas in the palmolein import scam and wanted to proceed against him.

The State government came up with a letter to the Centre written in 2006 that it wanted to go ahead with the graft case against him.

The letter, copy of which was made available to the media, surfaced a day after Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan hit back at his Maharashtra counterpart Prithviraj Chavan, who was then in charge of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), for blaming the Kerala government for the muddle over the appointment of the Central Vigilance Commissioner.

“Statement misquoted”

In New Delhi, Mr. Chavan said his statement was “misquoted and twisted” by the Kerala Chief Minister.

“All I had stated at my press conference in Pune was that Mr. Thomas was appointed Chief Secretary by the Government of Kerala.”

In Pune, Mr. Chavan had sought to pass the buck to the Kerala government. He had said the DoPT had suggested three names — two retired officers and one serving — for CVC. One of them was the Chief Secretary in a State to be brought to Delhi. .

“Vigilance clearance is done by the State”

In the October 10, 2006 letter to the DoPT Secretary, Kerala Additional Chief Secretary Lizzy Jacob wanted to be treated as withdrawn the previous UDF government's decision to close the palmolein import case.

“I am directed to request the Government of India to treat the [State] government letter with the request to withdraw the proposal seeking sanction to prosecute P.J. Thomas and Jiji Thomson under the Prevention of Corruption Act as withdrawn and to accord sanction to prosecute Thomas and Jiji Thomson as requested on December 31, 1999,” the letter said.

Mr. Achuthanandan on Wednesday accused Mr. Chavan of “lying” on the issue to “hide” his fault.

The case refers to alleged corruption in import of palmolein from Malaysia by the UDF government headed by K. Karunakaran (since deceased) in 1991.

Mr. Thomas, whose appointment as CVC has been quashed by the Supreme Court, was Food Secretary at that time and Jiji Thomson was Managing Director of the State Civil Supplies Corporation.

More In: News | National | Kerala