Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan should publish the passport details of his son V.A. Arunkumar, alleged to be involved in various corruption deals, Congress leader Oommen Chandy said on Monday as the election campaign in the state gathered pace. The leader of opposition said Achuthanandan claimed to be fighting corruption and all the mafias operating in the state.
"Unlike him, when we raise issues, we do it with full responsibility. I challenge him to publish the foreign travel details of his son," Chandy told reporters here. Chandy wrote a letter to Achuthanandan in February highlighting the deals his son was allegedly involved in, and demanded an inquiry.
Allegations against Arunkumar include the scuttling of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the lottery scam in the state; his links with the sandalwood mafia; the manner in which he got a promotion at the state-run Institute for Human Resource Development where he works as joint director; his numerous foreign trips, including to Macau; and misuse of powers when he served as the managing director of the state-run Coirfed during the previous Left Front rule in 1996-2001.
"Achuthanandan asked me to give in writing the allegations against his son and when I did that, he handed over the inquiry to Lok Ayukta. If it had to be the Lok Ayukta, I could have given it (the case) directly," Chandy said. "This has nothing to do with the chief minister," an official in Achuthanandan's office said when asked to respond to Chandy's demand.
Kerala goes to the polls on April 13 to elect 140 legislators. The ruling Left Front led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist and the opposition United Democratic Front, led by the Congress, are engaged in a bitter battle for power.
Emphasising that the state has regressed, Chandy quoted a recent World Bank report to say that Kerala became second most investment friendly state during the Congress-led front's regime (2001-06). However, it was now 17th with West Bengal in the 18th position.
Reacting to Achuthanandan's remarks on the Congress party using two helicopters for its election campaign, Chandy shot back to ask if the chief minister meant that the party should return to days of the bullock cart. The Election Commission on Monday gave Congress the green signal to use helicopters. The commission also said the expenses should be borne by the parties and not put at the candidate's costs.