statesman news service
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, 13 JUNE: Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy (file photo) is at the receiving end over allegations that his personal assistant has a link with a woman arrested in connection with a cheating case.
Mr Chandy’s PA Mr Tenni Joppen has allegedly made over 70 phones calls just before Saritha S Nair’s arrest for swindling crores of rupees of the gullible investors, promising windmill farms and solar power stations in Tamil Nadu.
What makes this CPM-led opposition&’s allegation more damaging for Mr Chandy is that he does not possess any personal mobile phone and uses Mr Joppen&’s phone. Kairali TV, the Malayalam TV channel controlled by the CPI-M which broke the news, says that Mr Joppen had made calls from landlines at the CM&’s office and official residence.
The channel also gave call details allegedly made by Mr Joppen and Ms Nair.
Demanding a judicial probe into the alleged nexus between Ms Nair and Mr Joppen, the opposition has been rocking the Assembly which is in session now. They also allege that Mr Chandy is trying to shield Mr Joppen who is said to be the CM&’s shadow. Mr Chandy, who does not deny the allegation, however, has not yielded to the Opposition&’s demand. Instead, he ordered a probe by Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Hemachandran, an officer with a clean reputation. Announcing this in the Assembly today, Mr Chandy said: "I have no intention to protect anybody in the case. The ADGP will look into the charge that if my PA had used the official phone for calling the woman and under what circumstances, he had contacted her."
However, the police probe was unacceptable to the Opposition and in protest, they walked out from the House.
Announcing the walkout, Deputy Opposition leader Mr Kodiyeri Balakrishnan expressed the doubt over the impartiality of the probe. "We don’t think that the police officer is able to conduct a fair and just probe into the allegation raised against the CM&’s office. Only a judicial inquiry can reveal the truth."
A few months after assuming office, Mr Chandy had said all decision taken by his office is transparent and to ensure it to the public, he started the webcasting of his office daily.
Many had pointed out then that just a few webcams cannot make an office corruption-free because underhand deals take place outside the official premises.