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CVC fiasco: Kerala govt reverts blame to Centre

March 11, 2011 00:10 IST

The blame game over the Central Vigilance Commissioner appointment fiasco refused to die down with the surfacing of a letter on Thursday that the Kerala government wrote to the Centre in 2006 saying it wanted to go ahead with the graft case against P J Thomas.

In the October 10, 2006 letter to the secretary to the Union Department of Personnel and Training, Additional Chief Secretary Lizzy Jacob had wanted to be treated as withdrawn the previous United Democratic Front government's decision to close the palm oil import corruption case.

"I am directed to request the government of India to treat the (state) government letter with the request to withdraw the proposal seeking sanction to prosecute P J Thomas and Jiji Thomson under Prevention of Corruption Act as withdrawn and to accord sanction to prosecute Thomas and Jiji Thomson as requested on December 31, 1999," the letter said.

The letter, copy of which was available to the media, surfaced a day after Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan hit back at his Maharashtra counterpart Prithviraj Chavan, who was then incharge of department of personnel and training, for blaming Kerala government for the CVC appointment fiasco.

In a statement on Wednesday, Achuthanandan had accused Chavan of "lying" on the issue to "hide" his fault.

The case refers to alleged corruption in import of palmolein from Malaysia by the UDF government headed by late K Karunakaran in 1991.

Thomas, whose appointment as the Central Vigilance Commissioner was set aside by Supreme Court recently, was the food secretary at the time and Jiji Thomson MD of the state civil supplies corporation.

In December 2006, when Congress leader Oommen Chandy was the chief minister, the state government decided to close the case.

However, the decision was rescinded after Achuthanandan became the chief minister in May 2006 as he had vigorously pursued the case from the start.

Achuthanandan's reaction came in response to Chavan's claim that the vigilance clearance for Thomas was given by Kerala.

"Chavan should have kept the dignity of his post while making such statements," Achuthanandan had said.

"DoPT had suggested three names -- two retired officers and one serving -- for the post. One of them was chief secretary in a state to be brought to Delhi. Vigilance clearance is done by the state," Chavan had said on Tuesday.

Under attack over Thomas' appointment as CVC, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had told the Rajya Sabha that he was unaware of the corruption case against Thomas and virtually blamed Chavan, saying key information was not provided.

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