‘I’m not blackmailing Chandy, his cabinet colleagues are’

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VS Achuthanandan. File photo

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has stated that he would not yield to the Opposition’s blackmail tactics.  Why you are resorting to blackmail tactics against the Chief Minister?

I’m not blackmailing Oommen Chandy or his government. I’m doing the role of an Opposition leader for the sake of healthy democratic practices. It was not me who met Saritha Nair frequently. It was not me who called her day and night. It was not me who leaked her call list. Prima facie there is evidence against the chief minister in the cheating case. One of the victims duped by Saritha and Biju had recorded statements before the court stating that he had given money after assurances given by the chief minister. He has lodged a police complaint as well. Now the chief minister claims that he had met the victim Sreedharan Nair in his office to discuss problems related to quarry mining along with office bearers of the Quarry Owners Association.

Let the police question the chief minister and find out the truth. But the Kerala home minister has stated that he would not allow the police to question the chief minister. So it’s clear that a fair probe is impossible in the solar scam case as both the chief minister and home minister have lots of things to cover. Both these leaders and their office have links with the accused who are in police custody. In this context, he should resign. We will take this matter to the people. I can tell you one thing; we will not allow the Chandy government to continue in power with dirty tricks. When we raised the issue in the Assembly, they adjourned the house sine die. The chief minister and his government have no credibility.

There have been instances in the past when chief ministers and ministers resigned after allegations surfaced in the media or in the Assembly. When the court criticised Chief Minister K Karunakaran over the custodial death of Rajan during the emergency period, he resigned. Later when the media criticised Karunakaran in the ISRO spy scandal, Chandy himself demanded for a resignation and he resigned. But Chandy is not doing the same because he knows that if he resigns, he would go to jail for corruption as an accused in the solar scam.

Are you settling scores with the chief minister for registering cases against you and your son?

If I had to settle scores, I could have done it much earlier. I’ve taken a consistent stand against corruption and I will continue my fight till I die. This government is full of corruption. It’s a government run by cronies and only for cronies. We have raised several corruption charges against this government, but no action was taken. Now we will see that this government goes to its graveyard.

The United Democratic Front (UDF) is united in defending the Chief Minister in the solar scam case. How can you demand his resignation when he has a majority in the house?

Who says that the UDF is united in defending Chandy? It’s only in the media that they sing– “we are together and Chandy is our saviour”. There is a deep crisis in the Congress after the solar scam hit almost half a dozen ministers and Congress leaders. Who leaked the information that Home Minister Thiruvanchiyur Radhakrishnan called Saritha thrice? None other than Chandy’s additional private secretary, through the crime records bureau inspector general of police. Why did he do that? It was retaliation against the arrest of Tenny Joppen, who was the shadow man of the chief minister. Joppen was arrested on the day the chief minister arrived from Bahrain after receiving an UN award for transparency in governance. It’s a joke; he received this UN recognition when his office was crowded with con men. The timing of the arrest indicates that Home Minister Radhakrishnan instructed the police to arrest Joppen to malign the chief minister’s image.

Later, pictures of the home minister with Shalu Menon were released to the media. Then the home minister leaked the call list of Saritha Nair exposing the midnight calls of legislators, ministers and Union ministers. The call list and timings of the calls indicate that our poor ministers were awake at midnight discussing serious issues with the con women arrested in the solar scam. All these developments show the ugly face of war in the government and the Congress party. So it’s not me blackmailing Oommen Chandy, it’s his cabinet colleagues and party leaders who are after him. They want him out of office sooner or later.

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Bureau Chief, South

Jeemon Jacob has been a journalist for 26 years both in print and television, as of 2011. He was a Reuters Fellow and spent nine months in Oxford University as visiting scholar in 1994-95. He has headed the political bureau in New Delhi of the Rashtra Deepika group of publications and later joined News Express in Brunei Darussalam as Features Editor. He won the Statesman award for rural reporting in 1987 for his seven articles that exposed a brown sugar racket in Kumily, Kerala.

In 1990, he won the state award for best reporting and in 1992, his article on social alienation of people with HIV/AIDS won the prestigious PUCL Award for human rights reporting in 1992. Jeemon is a graduate in English Literature and Journalism and has exposed the corruption behind the DMK government’s allotting prime land to high court judges, senior civil servants, and the kith and kin of politicians under the government’s discretionary quota. He is based in Thiruvananthapuram.

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