The Vigilance Court here on Thursday directed the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau to register case against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala, Public Works Minister V K Ibrahim Kunju and nine others in the multi-crore corruption at public sector firm Travancore Titanium Products Limited.
Rejecting VACB probe report which stated Chandy and others had no role in the alleged corruption, vigilance judge Jose Illikkadan asked the investigating agency to submit the report within four months. The case is pertaining to the alleged loss of Rs 200 crore in connection with establishing a waste water treatment plant at the company.
Two former staff members _ Sebastian George and S Jayan _ had complained the VACB, seeking probe into the alleged corruption. Others arraigned as the alleged accused are bureaucrats at the company and representatives of a private firm which obtained the contract for the plant.
On the eve of assembly elections in 2011, former Congress minister K K Ramachandran Master had alleged that he was removed from the Congress ministry in 2005 after he objected to the corrupt deal. He had alleged that Chennithala, then Congress state president, had threatened to give pollution control board clearance for the project. Master was later suspended from the party.
The VACB had faced the ire of the court after it dragged the investigation into the case and failed to record the statement of Chandy and others. Earlier, the complainant Jayan had filed an objection petition in which urged the court to direct the VACB to register an FIR against Chandy and others.
Chandy, when he was the chief minister in 1995, had written to the chairman of the Supreme Court monitoring committee, seeking more time to implement the treatment plant. In 2003, the Kerala High Court had given 30-month period for executing the project.
The project did not materialize. Although machinery worth Rs 100 crore was imported, it was not installed at the company, which incurred another loss of Rs 100 crore as financial liability. The VACB began the probe in 2007 after the LDF government assumed power.
Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan demanded that Chandy should quit. But, Chandy refuted the corruption charges and said employees at the firm knew the truth.
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