Probe against ex-CJI Balakrishnan's son-in-law set in motion

Probe against ex-CJI Balakrishnan`s son-in-law set in motion Thiruvananthapuram/Kochi: Adding to the woes of former CJI K G Balakrishnan, Kerala government on Tuesday set in motion the process of a vigilance probe against his son-in-law for allegedly amassing wealth and his brother, a government pleader, went on leave following similar charges.

Balakrishnan's second son-in-law M J Benni also came under a shadow with sections of the local media reporting that he had also purchased prime plots on the suburbs of Kochi within a span of two years.

State Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan referred to the Home Secretary the direction given yesterday by Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan to conduct a vigilance probe against Balakrishnan's son-in-law Sreenijan, based on a complaint that he had amassed disproportionate wealth.

Sreenijan, a former youth Congress state vice president who had unsuccessfully contested the last assembly polls on a Congress ticket, failed to get any support even from his own party.

Former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who heads the Congress-led UDF in the assembly, said the Front would not criticise the government's action to order a probe against Sreenijan.

Balakrishnan's brother Bhaskaran, Special Government Pleader in the Kerala High Court, went on medical leave as directed by Advocate General K G Sudhakara Prasad to either resign or go on leave in the wake of allegations against him.

According to media reports, Bhaskaran had purchased about 60 acres in Dindigul in Tamil Nadu in 2005-06 in the name of his wife, four children and a close relative.

Bhaskaran, however, has dubbed the reports as 'exaggerated'.

Allegations against Balakrishnan's relatives also had its political echo with UDF as well as the Left ally CPI holding that it was better for the former CJI to step down as Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission.

CPI state secretary C K Chandrappan said in Palakkad it was better for Balakrishnan to step down as NHRC chairman or the government should remove him.

UDF Convener P P Thankachan also echoed a similar view saying persons holding high positions should step down when confronted with allegations like these.