Prepared to face any investigation, says Kerala CM

 Making it clear that he had no plans to resign, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, against whom a vigilance court had ordered further investigation for alleged corruption in the setting up of an effluent treatment plant at a state-owned firm, today said he was prepared to face any probe.

PTI| Last Updated: Aug 29, 2014, 22:03 PM IST

Kochi: Making it clear that he had no plans to resign, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, against whom a vigilance court had ordered further investigation for alleged corruption in the setting up of an effluent treatment plant at a state-owned firm, today said he was prepared to face any probe.

"Let any type of investigation take place. I will cooperate with any investigation," Chandy told reporters here. Whatever action he had taken in the case, were with good intentions, the chief minister said.

"As far as I am concerned, what I did was to ensure that a group of factories in Ernakulam and the Travancore Titanium Products plant in Thiruvananthapuram are not closed down following the recommendations of the Supreme Court appointed committee. I had taken an active role only to protect the interests of the employees," he said.

"We are not afraid of any investigation. Only those who have done any wrong, need fear. What I have done is in the open. My conscience is clear," he said.

The case pertains to alleged irregularities in implementation of an effluent treatment plant at the state-owned Travancore Titanium Products, one of Kerala's oldest public sector firms. Demands for his resignation had come after a vigilance court had directed investigation against him in the 1992 'Palmolein Import case', Chandy said. The High Court had later cleared him of the charges. Similar demand had arisen recently during the 'Solar scam case', he said.

"If I had resigned then it would have been a blunder," the chief minister said. Chandy said the name of Home Minister, Ramesh Chennithala, had been unnecessarily dragged in the case as he was neither a minister or an MLA during the time and was not part of the government. There was no basis for dragging his name in the case, Chandy said.

The apex court monitored committee headed by Thyagarajan had recommended closure of about 198 units in the state when Chandy was the chief minister in 2005. All trade union leaders of the companies, including INTUC and CITU, had met him and requested that closure should be avoided, Chandy said.

It was decided that all the units in Ernakulam would have

a common effluent treatment facility at FACT land at Eroor for which KSIDC was made the nodal agency and Kerala Environment Infrastructure company was formed and in 2007 the work of the company was completed and it was functioning well, Chandy said.

TTP plant was the only one in Thiruvananthapuram facing closure threat and it was decided that the company would set up an effluent plant. But before the work of the plant began, there was a change of government, he said.

Chandy also said he would not make any critical remarks against the court.

On whether he will appeal against the Vigilance court order in the High Court, Chandy said, "We will think about it and take a decision."

While considering a private petition yesterday, the Vigilance Court rejected the report submitted by Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau, which had given a clean chit to Chandy holding that there was no ground in the allegation that placing the order with a private company for executing the plant involved corruption.

The petitioner, an employee of the company, wanted further investigation in the case with Chandy, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala, then KPCC President, and 10 others being arraigned as accused.

While rejecting the report, the court asked the agency to conduct further investigation and file a fresh report within four months.

The chief minister, who is leaving for New Delhi tonight, said he along with State Fisheries and Ports Minister K Babu, would be meeting Finance Minister Arun Jaitely with regard to the Vizhinjam project and clearance for the FACT revival package.