A vigilance court’s order to register an FIR against Kerala Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy, today has compounded the woes of the Congress in the state which is heading for assembly elections in three months. The order has posed a moral question before the embattled chief minister, as only last week one of his cabinet colleagues had resigned after the vigilance court asked the Vigilance & Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) to register a case against him in the bar bribery scandal.
Chandy is yet to accept the resignation of K Babu. Now, he finds himself in a similar position. The Congress high command, sources said, is alarmed by the fast-paced developments in the state which is threatening to spell doom for the grand old party in the southern state. All of a sudden, the Congress is facing one crisis too many – from Arunachal Pradesh to Kerala and Maharashtra.
The CBI today sought permission from the Maharashtra governor to prosecute former Congress chief minister, Ashok Chavan, in the Adarsh housing society scam. Chavan is the president of Maharashtra Congress. He had to resign as chief minister in 2010 in the wake of revelations in the case. Earlier, Governor K Sankaranarayanan had denied permission to CBI to prosecute him.
The developments in Kerala are more worrying. The chief minister, who has a clean image, has come under a cloud of suspicion after Saritha Nair’s allegations just months before the elections. The prime accused in the solar scam, she has claimed to have given Rs 1.9 crore to one of Chandy’s alleged associates.
Moreover, there is the allegation that an MLA close to him tried to sabotage the judicial inquiry by trying to tutor Nair before her deposition. It is not just Chandy. Earlier, K M Mani had to resign as finance minister in the wake of revelations in the bar bribery scandal.
Two resignations by ministers and the chief minister facing bribery accusation and a possible FIR is not a happy situation. The only hope is on a stay from the high court on the lodging of an FIR.
The high command, meanwhile, has sought a report and sources said the developments are serious. Senior leaders A K Antony and Mukul Wasnik, AICC General Secretary in charge of Kerala, met Congress President Sonia Gandhi this morning to discuss the developments. The CPM, which should benefit from all this, is not in too happy a position as Nair had earlier alleged that the party had offered her Rs 10 crore.
Nevertheless, the Left has already sought Chandy’s resignation – the Congress and the chief minister will find it hard to wriggle out of the situation.