As the CPI(M)-led Kerala government ordered a Vigilance investigation on Wednesday against former chief minister Oommen Chandy and a host of top Congress leaders in connection with the multi-crore solar scam based on the findings of a probe panel, the Congress high command maintained a conspicuous silence.
A K Antony, the only senior Congress leader who came out to speak Wednesday, was also silent on Chandy and the commission’s report per se. Antony said he cannot comment unless he goes through the report.
The former Kerala CM, however, criticised the Left government for announcing follow-up action on the basis of the report on the day of by-election for Vengara Assembly constituency in Malappuram district.
Antony, a member of the Congress Working Committee, asked Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to show the decency to make the report public. The Justice G Sivarajan Commission, appointed by the previous Chandy government to probe the scam, had last month submitted its report to the CM.
Antony said the state government sat on the report and chose to announce a follow-up action on the day of the bypoll.
The commission’s findings and the government action has plunged the Congress in Kerala into turmoil, as several party leaders, besides Chandy, will face inquiries at various levels. While former Power minister Aryadan Mohammed will face a Vigilance probe like Chandy, former Home minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan and two former Congress MLAs — Thampanoor Ravi and Benny Benhanan — have also been brought under the ambit of the probe.
Antony said the CPI(M) had the Assembly by-election in mind while announcing Wednesday’s action, and called it violation of the election code of conduct. “It is politically motivated and was a display of low-level politics,” he said. “I want to remind the CM and the CPI(M) that if they think they can destroy the Congress by putting a large number of its leaders under a cloud of suspicion, then they are living in illusion.”