Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala Saturday moved a vigilance court and sought a probe against Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Excise Minister TP Ramakrishnan, alleging graft worth crores of rupees while issuing licenses to set up brewery and distillery units in the state. Chennithala, who is the opposition leader in the state assembly, appeared in person before the Inquiry Commissioner and Special Judge, D Ajith Kumar, and contended that he had evidence on record to prove that the chief minister and the minister had not consulted the cabinet and acted in secrecy.
He has also arraigned Excise Commissioner Rishiraj Singh as an accused in the matter. Chennithala said there was “actually no environmental assessment study” on the availability of water resources and without identification of the land for the project, a feasibility report was considered and accepted.
“The criminal conspiracy hatched in secrecy is readily gatherable from the face of record which inspires confidence to conclude that there was kickback in this deal for the dishonest performance of public duty to obtain undue pecuniary advantage to the company and the accused,” Chennithala’s plea said.
Earlier, Governor P Sathasivam had rejected the plea seeking his approval under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 for an inquiry against the chief minister and the minister. Chennithala told reporters that moving the court was the only way to “catch the culprits”.
The Left government came under attack for its decision to issue licences to various companies to set up distillery and brewery units in three districts of the state – Kannur, Palakkad and Ernakulam. However, the government cancelled all the licences after the row erupted.