SC sends notice to Kerala CM in graft case

SC sends notice to Kerala CM in graft case

SC sends notice to Kerala CM in graft case

Leading opposition parties in Kerala have accused Marxist chief-minister Pinarayi Vijayan of looting funds allocated for "Cyclone Ockhi" rehabilitation to meet his personal expenditure. "Normally, the public administration department pays for the travelling expenses of the chief minister and other ministers", he said.

However, the order was cancelled last night by the government.

After meeting the central government team, Vijayan flew back to Thrissur and his government debited the chopper ride's expenses to the relief fund.

Kerala BJP General Secretary M.T. Ramesh asked Home Minister Rajnath Singh to monitor the cyclone funds. The CBI had filed charges of criminal conspiracy against Pinarayi Vijayan for influencing the Rs 374 crore deal. "But, I have decided not to use the SDRF".

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"Such a thing has never happened in Kerala".

The CBI, in its appeal, said there was "ample material to show the involvement" of Mr. Vijayan in the Lavalin deal.

Hassan, the President of Congress in Kerala, told reporters here that this was nothing but corruption.

"The government fund was utilised for a private goal", he said alleging the Chief Minister "has committed corruption to the tune of Rs eight Lakhs (cost incurred for the journey)". Political observers in Kerala claim that his alleged role in the SNC Lavalin scam is what had stalled his elevation to the Kerala chief minister's post in May 2006 when the Left Front won the state assembly polls.

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In a bid to end the controversy, the CPI-M Secretariat which meets here on Thursday is likely to foot the bill of Vijayan's helicopter ride. The LDF government also came in for criticism from the Latin Catholic Church, to which most of the cyclone affected fishermen belong, over the issue. "The CM is trying to mislead people", he said.

The statement said the order for the payment was issued without the knowledge of the chief minister or the CMO. He also said neither he nor his office was aware of the controversial order. In the government order itself, the name of the Private Secretary of the Chief Minister is mentioned.

Revenue minister E Chandrasekharan has also asked for an explanation from additional chief secretary (revenue and disaster management) PH Kurien, over the issue.

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