Govt. invites CBI to probe TTP case

Chennithala, Chandy among top UDF leaders facing corruption charges

Top Opposition leaders are increasingly facing the prospect of prosecution in various cases in the run-up to the bypolls in five Assembly constituencies in Kerala.

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala and former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, both star campaigners of the United Democratic Front (UDF), seem to top the list.

The State government has invited the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe the leaders on the charge of corruption in connection with an unsuccessful and costly bid to set up an effluent treatment plant at the State-run Travancore Titanium Products (TTP) here in 2006.

"The government had issued the notification to the CBI to probe the TTP case this week. The State was awaiting the response of the Central agency,” an official privy to the process said.

Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leader and then Industries Minister V.K. Ebrahim Kunju is also an accused in the 13-year-old case. The government had maintained that it was constrained to seek CBI intervention because the case had international ramifications.

Investigators required information from the Interpol about the role of a foreign firm and a shady middleman, who has since disappeared from the public realm. The prosecution case was that the accused had ignored cautionary reports submitted by various agencies, including the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (PCB) and pushed ahead with a "financially unviable scheme" by awarding the lucrative contract without tender to a foreign firm represented by an Indian consultancy company they “favoured".

The UDF leaders denied any wrongdoing. They said it was a contemptible political plot to malign the Opposition leaders on the eve of byelections widely regarded as a litmus test of the Pinarayi Vijayan government's popularity.

The UDF has sensed a repeated pattern in the string of cases registered against its leaders since the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government came to power in 2016.

The Crime Branch is inquiring a galaxy of top UDF leaders on the charges of sexual impropriety tantamount to rape based on a complaint filed belatedly by a woman who figured as accused in the solar panel investment fraud case.

The government had given the State Police Chief (SPC) Loknath Behera sanction to prosecute Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Mullappally Ramachandran on the charge of defamation.

The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) is moving to question Mr. Kunju in connection with the shoddy construction of the Palarivattom bypass in Kochi.

The government, on its part, has maintained that it had not interfered in the process of law.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 6:39:11 PM |

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