LDF stages walkout in Assembly over palmolein case
Thiruvananthapuram: CPI(M)-led LDF on Tuesday staged a walkout in the Kerala Assembly over the UDF government`s decision to wind up the two-decade old palmolein import case.
The opposition alleged that it was a move to pre-empt the possibility of Chief Minister Ommen Chandy being made an accused as he was Finance Minister when the deal took place.
Seeking leave for an adjournment on the issue, V S Sunil Kumar (CPI)) attacked the government over its move to go for appeal against the vigilance court order, disallowing the withdrawal petition filed by the government.
Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala, however, defended the decision, holding that the state exchequer did not suffer any loss due to import of palmolein.
Leading his colleagues out of the House after a heated debate, Opposition Leader V S Achuthanandan said the government`s stand had no jusitification.
In a legal and political setback to the Chandy Government, a vigilance court in Thrissur earlier this month had turned down its move to wind up the palmolein import graft case dating to 1992 when late Congress veteran K Karunakaran was the Chief Minister.
The judge had held that withdrawal of the case was against public interest.
The government decided a few months back 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 gain.
The scam had cast a shadow on Karunakaran and forced former Central Vigilance Commission P J Thomas to step down from the coveted post as he figured as an accused in the charge sheet in his capacity as civil supplies commissioner in the state at the time of the import of the edible oil.
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