: Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan has accused Chief Minister Oommen Chandy of indulging in a game of hide-and-seek in the palmolein case.

In a statement here on Wednesday, Mr. Achuthanandan pointed out that though the Chief Minister had stated that the investigation in the case would proceed without any let or hindrance, he was making subtle moves to influence the investigation. He cited the Chief Minister's claim that the new Deputy Director of Prosecution (Vigilance) would have nothing to do with the palmolein case as a case in point.

The person who had been appointed Deputy Director of Prosecution (Vigilance), he pointed out, was one who had, as assistant legal adviser to the Vigilance Department, advised the government in 1998 that the palmolein case would not hold good. However, his advice was demolished by the Supreme Court on March 29, 2000, by categorically holding that the FIR in the palmolein case was valid. Mr. Chandy should not forget that the people were capable of seeing through the reason why such a person was being appointed to a higher post.

Mr. Achuthanandan said the contradiction between Mr. Chandy's statements and actions was also evident from documents which ‘showed' that the Director of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) had ‘tried to scuttle' the investigation in the case. The attempts made by the Superintendent of Police (SP) to tamper with the case diary had also come out. Reports suggested that instead of suspending the officer in question, what Mr. Chandy had recommended was his inclusion in the IPS. Mr. Chandy's appeasement of the Vigilance Director and Superintendent of Police even as he adopted the stand that the Vigilance probe would proceed without any hindrance would get exposed in the days to come, Mr. Achuthanandan said.

He also accused Mr. Chandy of having washed his hands of the row over Government Chief Whip P.C. George's letter (to the President) ‘ questioning' the motives of the Vigilance special judge. “Anybody can criticise the court verdicts. But questioning the motives of the court and trying to subvert the judicial system were a challenge to democracy and the people,” he said.

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