Meddling in probe against VS: Info Commissioner in trouble

An alleged attempt by state Info Commissioner and former DIG K Natarajan to interfere in the land-gifting case against CPI-M veteran has landed the official in trouble.

Last Updated: Oct 09, 2012, 13:58 PM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: An alleged attempt by state Information Commissioner and former DIG K Natarajan to interfere in the land-gifting case against CPI-M veteran V S Achuthanandan has landed the official in trouble.

An audio tape of Natarajan`s purported telephonic talk with Vigilance Deputy Superintendent of Police V G Kunhan, one of the investigating officers in the case, asking him to spare Achuthanandan in the case, was aired by a leading Malayalam TV channel on Tuesday.

Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau Director Venugopal K Nair said that the matter is being examined.

"We are verifying the matter with the help of the cyber wing of police to know whether the particular thing (telephone conversation) has taken place or not.

Once this process is over, then it is for the government to take a decision on the future course..," Nair said.

Natarajan was not available for his comment.

The case pertains to alleged violation of norms while allotting land to T K Soman, an ex-serviceman and a close relative of Achuthanandan in Kasaragod district when he was Chief Minister heading the previous LDF government.

Achuthanandan, the then Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Sheela Thomas, personal assistant Suresh and former Revenue Minister K P Rajendran are among the accused in the case. The matter came to light at the fag-end of the previous LDF rule and a Vigilance probe was ordered by the present UDF government.

Natarajan purportedly requested probe officer Kunhan to spare Achuthanandan as he was an `honest person` whose name was dragged into the case.

An FIR has been registered in a vigilance court in Kozhikode with Achuthanandan as the first accused and further investigations were said to be at an advanced stage.

After the case became a hotly debated topic a few months ago, the 88-year-old leader had made it clear that he would quit as the opposition leader in the state Assembly if he was chargesheeted.

Reacting to the report, state Youth Congress president P C Vishnunath, MLA, said he would represent the Governor seeking action against the Information Commissioner for alleged misuse of power.

Many ruling Front leaders also flayed the alleged attempt to interfere in the sensational case.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy declined to make any comment on media reports on the issue.

"I have only read it in a newspaper. I won`t comment on an issue about which I don`t have direct information," Chandy told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.