Pinarayi Vijayan refers Titanium case to CBI, Oommen Chandy ready to face probe
Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday targeted his predecessor Oommen Chandy as he referred a 13-year-old graft case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The case pertains to an alleged corrupt deal in the implementation of the Rs 260 crore pollution control and expansion project in the state-owned Travancore Titanium Products Ltd, here.
The irregularities came to light when Oommen Chandy was the Chief Minister during 2004-06. The corruption case was filed by an employee of the company at the Vigilance Court here.
The names of Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chenithala and former Industries Minister V.K. Ebrahimkunju and others also feature in this case.
The project was cleared by Oommen Chandy following repeated requests from the trade unions. Speaking to IANS, the former Chief Minister said he is ready to face any probe.
The CPM led V.S. Achuthanandan government took over in 2006 and went ahead with the project. However, the process of installing the treatment plant was stalled in 2007, and cases were filed.
When the case was first registered in 2006, Oommen Chandy and others were not named. However, in 2011, the former Chief Minister's name had surfaced.
The Vigilance probe report that was submitted to the court then had pointed out there was a loss of Rs 80 lakh but it could not hold anyone responsible for that.
Talking to the media, CPM Kerala state committee Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan defended the Pinarayi Vijayan government's decision to refer the Titanium case to the CBI.
He said it was referred to the CBI as it involves "outside parties". "Hence, a proper probe is needed," he said.