Kerala: Govt's volte-face galvanises Congress

PCC lost no time in blaming Pinarayi VIjayan-led govt. and asking for th removal of Mr Damodaran

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A political controversy has erupted with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's legal advisor M. K. Damodaran appearing in the High Court for lottery king Santiago Martin. The Congress was quick to cash in on the row and demanded the removal of Mr Damodaran from the post of legal advisor of Mr Vijayan. KPCC president V. M. Sudheeran criticised the government for asking Mr Damodaran, former advocate-general, to appear in the court for the lottery baron.

KPCC vice-president V.D. Satheeshan alleged that Santiago Martin had the sponsorship of the LDF government. The lottery scam is allegedly linked to the CPM. Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala demanded that Mr Damodaran should step down from the post of the legal advisor to the chief minister. Mr Satheeshan said the LDF's support to Santiago Martin was unfair. It was unethical for Mr Damodaran to represent him as Mr Damodaran was holding a responsible position as the chief minister's legal advisor.

"The LDF leaders had criticised the UDF government when Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi appeared for Santiago Martin. When it snowballed into a major controversy, Singhvi was removed as spokesperson in consultation with AICC leadership," said Mr Satheeshan. He also asked former chief minister V. S. Achuthanandan to make his stand clear on the matter. Mr Achuthanandan himself had said when he was the chief minister that Santiago Martin had drained '80,000 crore from Kerala.

The CPM had faced allegations of corruption during Mr Achuthanandan's tenure with the revelation that the party mouthpiece Deshabhimani had received crores from Santiago Martin. Later, the CPM officially announced that the money would be returned to Santiago Martin owing to pressure from within the party.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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