Kerala

Illicit wealth case against V.S. Sivakumar

Bid to divert attention from CAG findings, says Chennithala

The State government on Friday ordered the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) to investigate former Health Minister and Congress legislator V.S. Sivakumar on the charge of “illicitly enriching himself” during his period in the office between 2011-16.

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala cried foul and accused the government of having launched a political witch-hunt to divert public attention from the high-level Police Department corruption flagged by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India.

Mr. Sivakumar is now the third Minister in the Oommen Chandy government to face an anti-corruption inquiry under the current disposition.

The VACB had earlier chargesheeted former Excise Minister K. Babu in an amassment of wealth case.

On Saturday, the agency questioned former PWD Minister and Indian Union Muslim League legislator V.K. Ebrahim Kunju for three hours on the charge of financially favouring the firm responsible for the shoddy construction of the now decommissioned flyover at Palarivattom in Kochi.

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan had earlier allowed the government to prosecute Mr. Sivakumar.

Mr. Chennithala appeared piqued by the decision and indicated Mr. Khan was partial to the Left Democratic Front government. He said his requests seeking sanction to investigate four LDF Ministers for corruption was pending decision at Raj Bhavan inexplicably.

Sivakumar’s stance

Mr. Sivakumar said the LDF had resurrected a case written off by the VACB in 2014 to besmirch him.

The VACB reopened the inquiry against Mr. Sivakumar in 2016 after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan hand-picked Jacob Thomas to head the agency. It “found” that Mr. Sivakumar had stashed away the “illegitimate wealth” in the name of his nominees, including his staff. It had reportedly collected 105 documents and recorded the statement of over 100 witnesses.

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 5:00:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/illicit-wealth-case-against-vs-sivakumar/article30832781.ece

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