People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXVIII

No. 03

January 19, 2014

 

KERALA NEWSLETTER

 

Rahulís Alappuzha ĎPicnicí Ends in Chaos

 

N S Sajith

 

THE Congress partyís prime ministerial material, Rahul Gandhiís one day trip to Kerala to take part in a roadshow in connection with the Youth Congress padayatra miserably ended up in an utter chaos with gross violation of law on January 13, 2014. It has led to a public outcry demanding that legal action must be taken against the Congress leader who travelled atop a police jeep. Kodikkunnil Suresh, central minister for state for labour, was injured and hospitalised in the melee that took place during the ridiculous roadshow at Noornad in Alappuzha district. The state government too faced criticism for the serious security lapse as Rahulís car ran out of fuel and had to be refilled from a nearby petrol pump.               

 

Rahul Gandhi reached Noornad on January 13 evening directly from Nedumbasseri Airport, to participate in the padayatra led by the Youth Congress state president Dean Kuriakose. He went along with the workers for 15 minutes through the Kayamkulam-Punalur state highway. When the Congress workers gathered around to greet their leaders, Rahul and the jatha leader Dean Kuriakose suddenly jumped on to the police jeep to save themselves from the mess. Many people including the central minister, Kodikkunnil Suresh, fell down in the stampede.              

 

Suresh, who was admitted in private hospital at Thiruvananthapuram, later said that more than 15 people had walked over his body that was crushed in the stampede. He was heavily injured and the nail of one of his toes was plucked off.

 

NCP leader Mujib Rahman and Kerala Congress leader George Sebastian have filed a petition to the police, asking for action against the Congress leaders including Rahul Gandhi for violating the Motor Vehicle Act. As the police showed reluctance to take cognisance, both the leaders decided to approach the court with this demand. Mujib Rahman said that Rahulís act was in violation of article 123(2) of the Motor Vehicle Act. The police jeep was also damaged and a case must be registered about it under article 120(B) of the Police Act.

 

In the meanwhile, central zone IG, K Padmakumar, claimed that there was no security lapse during Rahul Gandhiís visit. Alappuzha district police chief Uma Meena said that the responsibility of Rahul Gandhiís security solely vested in the Special Protection Group (SPG).

 

ĎNON-CONG, NON-BJP

COMBINE LIKELY BY FEBí

ON January 11, 2014, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat said that a non-Congress secular and democratic front alone could effectively counter Narendra Modi, adding that non-Congress secular parties would finalise some concrete electoral alliance by early February. This he said at a Meet the Press programme at the Press Club in Eranakulam. Karat further said the CPI(M) and other Left parties were working towards arriving at a broad agreement with various non-Congress, non-BJP parties, while such opposition alliances were earlier formed after the polls. "We are today already in touch. We are working on a broad, loose combination before elections at the regional level," he said.

 

"This time, much before the elections on October 30 last year, 14 parties came together. We are in constant discussion with all parties. By the beginning of February, some concrete alliance will be finalised so that after the elections we are able to put together a combination we require against the BJP, as the Congress is not going to win," Karat said.

 

Describing the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as a 'substitute' for the bourgeois parties; he said the AAP had not made its stand clear on communalism. It is not an alternative to the Left movement. It was able to rally the middle class in Delhi. But it did not made clear its stand either on communalism or on the neo-liberal policies which are leading to miseries and rampant corruption.  

 

HUGE SETBACK TO

OOMMEN CHANDY

ON January 10, 2014, chief minister Oommen Chandy and the UDF government  which he leads suffered a huge legal and political setback as the Vigilance Court turned down their plea to wind up the palmolein import graft case. The case has its origin in 1992 when the late Congress veteran, K Karunakaran, was the chief minister. 

 

Dismissing the government's plea, Judge K Haripal of the the Vigilance Court in Thrissur held that withdrawal of the case was against the public interest. Earlier the UDF government had decided to withdraw the case pertaining to alleged corruption and irregularities in the palmolein import deal, holding that it did not cause any loss to the exchequer nor had anyone made unlawful gains. Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan and V S Sunilkumar, MLA, then put forward certain arguments in the court and the court approved all their arguments.

 

The case relates to corruption in the import of palmolein through a Singapore based firm when Karunakaran was the chief minister in 1992. Thomas was then the civil supplies commissioner and Thomson the managing director of the state Civil Supplies Corporation.

 

The courtís decision will now lead to a resumption of legal action against all the seven accused in the case. Oommen Chadyís name figured in this case after a withdrawal petition was filed in 2011 by the then food and civil supplies minister T H Musthafa who argued that the decision to import palmolein was a unanimous one. Then the previous LDF government directed the Crime Branch to file a case to examine the involvement of Oommen Chandy who was the finance minister in Karunakaranís cabinet. However, when the UDF came to power in 2011, it started moves to scuttle down the case.

 

The palmolein scam also cast a shadow on Karunakaran and forced the former central vigilance commissioner P J Thomas to step down from the coveted post as he figured as an accused in the chargesheet in his capacity as the civil supplies commissioner in the state at the time of import of the edible oil.

 

The government had argued that the allegation of a criminal conspiracy or irregularities against the accused was not sustainable. Apart from Thomas and T H Musthafa, IAS officer and Sports Authority of India director general Jiji Thomson too is among the accused.

 

Thomas, who stepped down as the CVC two years ago in the backdrop of the case, figured as the eighth accused. The vigilance inquiry into the deal was ordered by the LDF ministry led by E K Nayanar in 1999.

 

The first move to withdraw the case was made by Chandy during his first stint as the chief minister in 2005. But it was reversed by the LDF government headed by V S Achuthanandan that came to power in 2006. After the UDF came to power again in 2011, it again decided to withdraw the case and filed a petition in the court in this regard.

 

The case took another political turn with Achuthanandan seeking action against Chandy, who was finance minister in 1992 when the cabinet approved the deal. However, the Kerala High Court and Vigilance Court dismissed the petition in this regard.

 

The CPI(M) has welcomed the Vigilance Courtís order and held that the chief minister, Oommen Chandy, has lost the moral ground to remain in office. But Chandy if adamant that his government has not lost credibility with this outcome of the case.

 

"The next step will be decided after studying the judgement. The court, however, has not expressed any lack of faith in the government," Chandy told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram.

 

Hailing the court order, opposition Leader V S Achuthanandan said this marked the victory of prolonged legal battles for justice in the case. CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and former home minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said if at all Chandy was "left with some sense of justice, he must resign."

 

HC CRITICISES UDF GOVT FOR

SPECIAL FACILITIES TO SARITHA

PUTTING the UDF government in the dock, the Kerala High Court harshly criticised on January 9, 2014 the way it treats the solar panel scam accused Ms Saritha S Nair who is enjoying special treatment in jail. Justice Harun Al Rashid wanted to know if the accused had a beautician in prison and from where she got the expensive dresses she was seen in while being produced in court. There are only two saris provided to women inmates in the jail.

 

The court added that if this practice is continued, no one will have any fear to go to jail. The court made these observations orally while hearing the land grabbing case against Salim Raj, former gunman of the chief minister Oommen Chandy.

 

The public too has been viewing all these developments. The court also wanted to know why she was brought via Puthupally, the home town of the chief minister, and why she was being given unusual facilities. Justice Rashid also wanted to know if the ruling front and the mafia have any mutual connection or unholy relationship.

 

Three days back after producing Ms Saritha S Nair in the High Court, the police diverted the route and brought her to Thiruvananthapuram via Puthuppalli, the home town of Oommen Chandy. When this act was questioned by the opposition members in the legislative assembly on the last day of its session, the government clarified that the route diversion was due to traffic jam.

 

In the meanwhile, home minister Ramesh Chennithala said that the government would inquire the New Delhi connections of Ms Saritha S Nair and Biju Radhakrishnan.