Thiruvananthapuram: The statement war between
the ruling CPI-M and opposition Congress in Kerala over the
appearance of AICC spokesperson Manu Abishek Singhvi as
counsel in the lottery case gained a shrill pitch on Saturday with
KPCC chief Ramesh Chennithala saying that Singhvi was chosen
to argue the case as a result of a `conspiracy involving
Kerala Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac and the lottery
Isaac hit back at Chennithala asking whether he meant that
the AICC spokesman was a person who could be hired by anybody
to argue any case and dared the Congress leader if he would
press for Singhvi`s expulsion from the party for arguing the
case against the interests of the Congress in Kerala.
Stung by Isaac yesterday`s charge that Chennithala knew
that Singhvi was coming to argue the lotter case since they
come from Delhi by the same flight last week, the KPCC chief
told reporters here that Isaac was trying to save his face
after he bit the dust in an open debate with the Congress
MLA V D Satheesan over the lottery issue recently.
"Singvi was specially chosen to argue the case as a result
of the conspiracy involving Isaac and the lottery agents.
Though we had travelled by the same flight I was not aware
Singvi was coming to argue the lottery case (in the Kerala
High Court). As soon as I knew it I had informed the central
leadership abou our concerns", Chennithala said.
Countering the argument, Isaac, a CPI-M Central Committee
member, said in Alappuzha that " it is for Singhvi to clarify
if I (Isaac) had any part in the conspiracy."
He sought to know if the KPCC president was willing to press
for expulsion of Singhvi from the party as his taking up the
brief of lottery agents ran contrary to the stand of the party
in the state.
The rival fronts have been engaged in a bitter wordy duel
over the appearance of Singhvi in the case last week, which
severely embarrassed the Congress as the party and its feeder
outfits alleged that lottery tycoons had been flourishing with
the patronage of the LDF Government.
Under pressure,the LDF government stopped accepting tax
advance from promoters of Bhutan and Sikkim lotteries, citing
violation of rules, resulting in virtual stoppage of sale of
other state lottery.