Slams Chennithala for “industrial-scale misinformation” campaign against KIIFB
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday accused Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala of orchestrating a fake accusation campaign on an ‘industrial scale’ against the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) and the government.
Escalating their war of words over the agency’s alleged lack of financial transparency, the Chief Minister in a written statement said the Comptroller and Auditor General was auditing KIIFB even as Mr. Chennithala proclaimed incorrectly that the government had illegally cocooned the agency from appraisal by the constitutional authority.
“The umbrella of baseless accusations held up by Mr. Chennithala cannot blot out the truth that shines out like the sun for everyone to see,” he said. Mr. Vijayan said Mr. Chennithala’s insinuations lacked substance and did not merit a reply.
‘For the 1,000th time’
However, striking an exasperated tone, Mr. Vijayan wrote he was constrained to clarify matters “for the 1,000th time” to clear any misunderstanding Mr. Chennithala’s misinformation campaign might have sown in the public mind.
The UDF had found its face in the mud after the people blamed the previous government for the corruption-ridden and shoddy construction of the flyover at Palarivattom in Kochi.
With no credible political platform to campaign against the government in the run-up to the Assembly byelections, Mr. Chennithala has sought to lay down a smokescreen of fake accusations to slander the ruling front.
The Opposition wanted to create an impression that the government had sunk into the same swamp of corruption that had trapped the previous UDF government in a slew of Vigilance cases.
Mr. Vijayan attempted to offer a point-by-point riposte to Mr. Chennithala’s criticism of the “opaqueness” in KIIFB’s dealings and “high-level corruption” in the KSEB’s Kottayam-Kolathunadu Transgrid project.
The Chief Minister quoted government rules, powers of the Cabinet, and the independence of the KSEB to justify the payment of “tender excess” to the agency contracted by the State to implement the Transgrid project that would purportedly lessen transmission loss and improve voltage in central Kerala.
‘A public document’
Mr. Chennithala had alleged malpractice in the project by stating that the KSEB had hiked the tender amount by 68%.
Mr. Vijayan said the detail of the loan agreement between the KSEB and KIIFB for the Transgrid project was a public document and not a secret one as claimed by Mr. Chennithala. There was no anti-corruption probe into the project as alleged by him.
The Chief Minister said the government had changed the KSEB chairperson as part of routine administration and Mr. Chennithala was wrong to read a conspiracy into everyday functioning of the government.