Kerala opposition demands Chandy’s resignation


Thiruvananthapuram : The Kerala opposition Monday demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and chief whip P.C. George over alleged attempts to influence the trial of the 1992 palm oil import case.

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On the opening day of the second session of the 13th assembly, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) raised the issue of George allegedly putting pressure on the judiciary, forcing special vigilance judge P.K. Haneefa to withdraw from the palm oil case Saturday.

Haneefa was hearing the case and had last month asked the vigilance department to further investigate if Chandy as the then finance minister in 1992 had any role in the palm oil import at an inflated price, causing a financial loss to the state.

Deputy leader of CPI-M Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said: “You are both playing a double game. On the one side, you say you do not make any attempt to influence the judiciary and, on the other, you put pressure on the judiciary by shooting off letters to the president, the governor and the chief justice of India and the chief justice of Kerala High Court, against judge Haneefa.”

“This is a shame and you both have to quit,” said Balakrishnan, slamming the Congress-led United Democratic Front government.

Chandy countered the opposition and said: “Please let me know why your (opposition) government, which investigated this case for 10 years (1991-96 and again during 2001-06), never made me an accused.”

“All know that you are playing a political game and despite your best efforts you could not arraign me as an accused,” said the chief minister.

When Leader of Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan said the Chandy government was worse than the previous Congress government led by K. Karunakaran, the treasury benches objected to his statement.

The opposition legislators then rushed towards the seat of Speaker G. Karthikeyan, who adjourned the house.

When the house reassembled after a 90-minute break, the opposition again raised the issue vociferously after which the speaker adjourned the house for the day.