Thiruvananthapuram: Seeking to cash in on the differences in Communist Party of India (Marxist) over mode of probe against Finance Minister KM Mani in the "bar bribe" controversy, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Tuesday accused Marxist veteran VS Achuthanandan of changing track by pressing for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry after demanding a vigilance probe.
"It was Achuthanandan himself, as Leader of the Opposition who wrote a letter to the Director of Vigilance to hold an inquiry. It was on the basis of this letter that the government asked the Vigilance to look into the issue. Now Achuthanandan is doing a somersault by demanding a CBI probe," Chandy told reporters in Kannur.
Taking a divergent stand from the party leadership, Achuthanandan had yesterday pressed for a CBI probe into bar owners' allegation that Finance Minister and Kerala Congress (M) supremo KM Mani had demanded a hefty sum as bribe for favourable decisions.
He reiterated his stand through a statement yesterday despite CPI(M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan making it clear that the party had not yet formed its view on the mode of probe it would prefer and cast doubts about the credibility of the central investigation agency.
"CBI is the sole agency which is capable of interrogating Mani as well as Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and other ministers ...That is why I asked for a CBI probe and that is what the people of Kerala also wish", the leader said in his statement.
With the "bar bribe row" denting its image, the Congress- led UDF Government has asked the Vigilance and Anti-corruption Bureau (VACB) to look into the bar owners' charge against Mani.
Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala directed VACB director to conduct a "quick verification" to ascertain if there was any substance in the allegation.