New Delhi: Congress spokesperson and lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi is likely to face disciplinary action for defending in the Kerala High Court a lottery distributor accused of irregularities, a top party leader said here Tuesday.
"According to our information, the high command will take disciplinary action against Singhvi to save at least its own face in Kerala. The CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist) has already made it a big issue. They are alleging that Singhvi defended the distributor with the knowledge of the high command," a senior Kerala leader told reporters on the condition of anonymity.
Party leaders in Delhi also indicated that the matter may be referred to the All India Congress Committee (AICC) disciplinary committee, headed by Defence Minister A.K. Antony, who is also a former Kerala chief minister.
Singhvi last week appeared for Megha Distributors, an agent for lotteries of Sikkim and Bhutan and is accused of irregularies. This upset Congress leaders in Kerala, who have consistently alleged that the firm`s owner was linked to the state`s ruling CPI-M.
The Congress-led opposition has been campaigning against lotteries from outside the state.
Congress leaders in the state, preparing for crucial polls to local bodies, feel that Singhvi`s action has undermined them, even though he subsequently withdrew from the case.
"We had built a strong case against the Marxists` nexus with the distributor. It was being used as a weapon to attack the LDF (Left Democratic Front) government to defeat it in the upcoming local body elections. But Singhvi spoilt it," the leader said.
"The damage is already done. An action is a must as he appeared for the controversial distributor undermining our plea not to appear. Otherwise, the party will face huge setback in the local body elections," he said.
State Congress chief Ramesh Chennithala and Leader of Opposition in the Kerala assembly Oommen Chandy have demanded strong action against the party spokesperson.
Congress general secretary and its media cell chief Janardan Dwivedi has said that the party high command had taken serious note of the issue.
"Though he has already said he has withdrawn from the case, the party has taken serious note of it. The matter is under consideration," Dwivedi told reporters here Monday.
Left leaders in Kerala, including Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, have alleged that Singhvi took on the case with the full knowledge of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.