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Karthikeyan suspects attempts to corner him

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G.Karthikeyan says there are flaws in the judicial commission's findings.
G.Karthikeyan says there are flaws in the judicial commission's findings.

Special Correspondent

Alleged irregularities in Civil Supplies Corporation

Thiruvananthapuram: The former Food and Civil Supplies Minister G. Karthikeyan on Friday said the findings of the judicial commission report on alleged irregularities in the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation during his tenure as Minister appeared to be an attempt to corner those who were in office at that time.

Responding to the panel's findings, Mr. Karthikeyan told a press conference here that parallel inquiries by the Vigilance wing of the corporation and financial wing of the Finance Department were conducted even as the judicial probe was on. The commission did not take evidence from the managing director of the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation, he said adding that except a few junior officials, no one who was connected with the purchase of essential articles in the corporation had been examined.

Replying to a question about the commission's reference to the involvement of a Kochi-based private trading caucus in the corporation's purchases, Mr. Karthikeyan said he was not aware of it. At no point of time had the corporation deviated from its purchase policy that was time-tested, he said. The Judicial Commission should have been judicious, he observed pointing out to several gaps in the commission's findings, which had given a clean chit to the LDF rule. The commission had rejected the deposition of one of the witnesses who maintained that the corporation's functioning was good.

Mr. Karthikeyan said during the three years he was Minister, the Opposition members, many of who were Ministers now, had not made any adverse reference in the Assembly. Even submissions highlighting price rise or poor quality of foodstuff did not figure during this period, he claimed.

The Civil Supplies Department and the Corporation had succeeded in ensuring uninterrupted supply of essential articles during all festival seasons. It was highly preposterous to state that his tenure was so steeped in corruption that a vigilant Opposition under V S Achuthanandan and the media were not able to unearth even one instance of corruption, he said.

He welcomed the Government's decision to order a CBI probe into the deal. He was in favour of any kind of investigation that would help bring out the truth.

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