Govt trying to create smokescreen on palmolein issue: Chandy

Govt trying to create smokescreen on palmolein issue: Chandy

"The government is trying to create a smokescreen on the issue. If there was any proof against me in the case, the Vigilance could have invoked Section 319 of CrPC and sought sanction for listing me as accused," Chandy said addressing reporters here.

The court itself had observed that it was giving only a formal sanction as sought by the Vigilance.

Chandy said the government was not confident about getting any further proof against him and was merely cooking up a case at this juncture, the reasons for which were `known to all.'

He said the Vigilance had in its petition cited four reasons to reopen the probe including the press conference held by him way back in 2005 as Chief Minister, after his cabinet decided to withdraw the palmolein case.

He had then said that he `knew all about the palmolein deal' which was misinterpreted by Vigilance to mean that he knew about corruption, Chandy said.

Chandy held that through the palmolein deal, the state had actually got a profit of Rs 8.5 crore. The C&AG report in 1994 had only noted that the state could have gained Rs 11 crore profit if there had not been procedural lapses.

He said five states including Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and West Bengal imported palmolein at that time from the same agency and following the same procedure.

Chandy said he had in his deposition as witness told the Vigilance everything he knew about the deal. Dismissing the charge by Finance Minister Thomas Isaac that the file was now `missing' from the department, he said it had been taken away by the Vigilance in 1997 itself.

Chandy said he was yet to get a reply to his question why in all these 20 years, his name could not be dragged into the case. "I am not worried over this. The government's move will boomerang on them," he said.

Chandy reiterated his statement that he would take the `right step' with the permission of the high command if he was included as an accused in the case after the fresh probe.
On seat sharing talks in the UDF, Chandy said an amicable settlement would be reached soon.

He denied the LDF's charge that the UDF was opposed to the `rice at Rs 2 per kg' scheme for both BPL and APL categories. "We only opposed the move to exploit it politically," he said.