Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Friday said he would not quit office over Vigilance Court order to register a corruption case against him and two cabinet colleagues in connection with the establishment of an effluent treatment plant at public sector Travancore Titanium Products Ltd in 2005.
The court had rejected the government stance that prior government sanction was required to launch a probe against Chandy, Home Minister Chennithala and Works Minister Ibrahim Kunju.
The court, which asked the vigilance and anti-corruption bureau to submit the probe report within four months, stated that those mentioned in the FIR would not get protection under the Prevention of Corruption Act for public servant.
Incidentally, Chennithala handles the Vigilance portfolio in the government. Nine other officials, both serving and retired, were also named as the alleged accused.
Chandy said the decision to set up the effluent treatment plant at TTP was taken at the behest of a Supreme Court directed committee. That decision was taken to protect the interest of the employees at the TTP. I did not go for the option to close down the unit citing the Supreme Court order to wind all polluting industrial units, said Chandy.
He said it was unnecessary to drag the name of Chennithala, who was not part of the government in 2005 when the project was launched. The complaint registered in 2006 had not mentioned Chennithala’s name. However, his name was included in the FIR based on the allegations of Congress leader Ramachandran Master, who was sacked later.
The complainant S Jayan, an ex-employee of the firm, had alleged that the project had caused a loss of Rs 256 crore. He said the Congress government of 2005 had gone ahead with the treatment plant disregarding the objection from the state pollution control board.
The project did not materalise as the LDF government suspended it. Later, the TTP adopted another project of Rs 86 crore, which is currently underway.
BJP said CBI should probe the matter as both Congress and CPI (M) leaders were involved in the alleged corruption.