Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said that he will face legally and politically the Thiruvananthapuram Vigilance Special Court's directive to re-investigate his role in the palmolein import case.
Speaking to mediapersons after holding discussions with his cabinet colleagues and KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala at the Chief Minister's conference hall at the North block of the secretariat, he said, he would face the investigation legally and morally.
"The Vigilance case is 20 years old. It was after investigation under the LDF rule that I was made a witness in the case. Nothing incriminating was found. I had referred all these issues to the party high command before the elections," he said.
"If it is another probe, let there be one," he quipped. Asked whether he would relinquish the Vigilance portfolio, Ramesh intervened and said the party would take a political decision on the issue.
Later, addressing reporters along with other UDF leaders KM Mani and PK Kunhalikutty, Ramesh Chennithala said that it was during the LDF government's tenure that the re-investigation was ordered in the case. And the Vigilance had submitted the report on May 11 this year. The Vigilance report had clearly said that the Finance ministry had no role in the palmolein purchase or imports. The probe had given a clean chit to Oommen Chandy, he said.
Speaking on the issue, Kunhalikutty said there was no situation warranting the Chief Minister's resignation. He said they would discuss the issue with other leaders and study it in detail. The court order to conduct the reinvestigation was technical. "It is not an issue at all. It was during the tenure of the LDF Government that the reinvestigation was ordered. And there was no evidence against Chandy," Kunhalikutty said.
KM Mani also said that it was the LDF Government which ordered the reinvestigation. "Disapproving the Vigilance report and issuing a directive for a fresh probe to find out the role of Oommen Chandy as Finance Minister in the Karunakaran ministry during 1991-96, is not a just decision," Mani said.
If there had been any evidence against Chandy there would have been a specific point in the directive for a fresh probe, he observed.
"The court can accept the report or go ahead with the probe. We are not cowards to resign and run away from responsibility," said a perturbed Mani, drumming up support for Chandy.