Kerala

Nod for VACB probe against Chennithala

Speaker P. Sreeramakrishnan has given his nod for a Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) inquiry against Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala and Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) legislator K.M. Shaji in separate cases.

The VACB had sought his permission to initiate a probe against the Leader of the Opposition following Kerala Bar Hotel Association (KBHA) working president Biju Ramesh’s revelation that he had paid a bribe to Mr. Chennithala when he was the State Congress chief.

The government had also received legal advice that the Governor’s permission was not required to initiate a Vigilance probe against Mr. Chennithala as he was not a Minister then.

The VACB had conducted a ‘confidential inquiry’ into the allegation that the KBHA had bribed Mr. Chennithala and two Ministers in the previous Oommen Chandy government to roll back a proposed bar licence fee hike.

The Home Department had sought the nod for a VACB inquiry against Mr. Shaji following complaints that the IUML legislator had amassed wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income.

However, the Speaker was not approached for permission for a VACB probe against Congress legislator V.S. Sivakumar and former Excise Minister K. Babu, who were also accused in the bar bribery case.

Requests for permission for a VACB probe against senior Congress legislators V.D. Satheesan and Anwar Sadath are also before the Speaker. Official sources said the VACB had been asked to submit more details in connection with the proposed probe against the two legislators.

The complaint against Mr. Satheesan is that he had accepted foreign financial aid without prior approval for the flood rehabilitation project Punarjani in the Paravoor Assembly constituency.

“Politically motivated”

Meanwhile, Mr. Chennithala said the decision of the Speaker was “politically motivated” and it was not a surprise as the Speaker acted as per the wishes of the Chief Minister. “It was investigated twice. It is a revenge for exposing the Left government’s misdeeds. We will face it legally and politically,” he added.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 1:58:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/nod-for-vacb-probe-against-chennithala/article33225155.ece

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