CBI investigation into lottery scam
: Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac has said that there is no difference of opinion within the government on the need for a CBI investigation into the lottery scam.
Replying to questions at a Meet-the-Press programme organised by the Kesari Memorial Journalists' Trust here on Wednesday, Dr. Isaac, however, refused to say whether the decision to request the Union government for a CBI investigation was a collective one. To a specific question whether the decision to seek a CBI investigation was one taken by Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan on his own or collectively by the government, he replied: “There is no difference of opinion here. The government has a clear stand on the issue.”
Dr. Isaac pointed out that the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government had sought a CBI investigation as soon as it came to power. The CPI(M) stand on the issue too was no different. What the High Court wanted to know when considering Congress legislator V. D. Satheesan's writ petition was why the Centre had not ordered a CBI investigation on the basis of the issues pointed out by the State government. The fact of the matter was that the Centre could initiate action even without any investigation. Let Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram clarify why no action was taken, the Finance Minister said.
Coming down heavily on Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy, Dr. Isaac said no person had helped the lottery mafia like Mr. Chandy. He had withdrawn 500-odd cases against the lottery operators and also facilitated their continued activities in the State.
On the contrary, the LDF government had put sustained pressure on the lottery operators and withdrawn their registration more than once. It had to backtrack only on account of court interventions. Mr. Chandy, he said, was also guilty of having abetted corruption in the palmolein deal.
The Finance Minister conceded that various controversies had prevented the LDF from taking the message of the government's achievements to the people. Controversies had tested the patience of the people and the surrounding ‘noise' had crowded out the message about the government's achievements.
Asked about the possibility of veteran leader K.R. Gouri being welcomed back into the CPI(M), Dr. Isaac would only say that she had a pride of place in the minds of Leftists in the State. He denied having held talks with Ms. Gouri to welcome her back into the CPI(M). On the delay in the CPI(M) picking its candidates for the Assembly election campaign, he said the party would take appropriate decisions after due deliberations and inform the people about. On the possibility of Mr. Achuthanandan being renominated, Dr. Isaac said he did not wish to comment on it.
Earlier, Dr. Isaac said the LDF would approach the people for continuity in governance and demanded to know whether the UDF would also be pitching for continuity of its 2001-'06 policies, which were largely “anti-people.”
Poser to UDF
Raising various questions to the UDF leadership, he sought to know whether they would persist with the LDF government's decision to supply ration rice to all cardholders at Rs. 2 a kilo, whether it would revert to its policy of closing down public sector units and retrenching workers, constraining growth of road infrastructure with low investment and neglect of the higher education sector with poor allocations.
The attempt of the LDF, on the contrary, would be to take with greater vigour the policies of the last five years which had brought wholesome changes in all sectors of governance, Dr. Isaac pointed out.