Police probing charges against Kerala information commissioner: Minister

Last Updated: Fri, Oct 12, 2012 12:40 hrs

Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 12 (IANS) Kerala Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan Friday said the police are now verifying facts about Kerala Information Commissioner K. Natarajan's alleged intervention in a land scam case involving former chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan before taking action.

Speaking to IANS, the minister said Natarajan's post is constitutional in nature and hence all the facts of what happened have to be found out and then only other steps, if necessary, will be taken.

"At the moment, Additional Director General of Police R. Sreelekha is ascertaining the facts of the reports of what has surfaced and the role played by Natarajan. Once that is over, the next step will be taken," said Radhakrishnan.

Since Tuesday, television channels here have been telecasting a mobile phone conversation that allegedly took place last month between Natarajan and Vigilance Department Deputy Superintendent of Police V.G. Kunjan, in which the information commissioner is heard persuading Kunjan to see to it that Achuthanandan is not included in the list of accused in the case.

Incidentally, it was Achuthanandan when he was the chief minister (2006-11) who appointed Natarajan, a former deputy inspector general of police, even after complaints raised by social activists on his credentials.

Soon after the report surfaced, Achuthanandan was quick to condemn the role played by Natarajan, and hinted at a conspiracy.

"This is a game plan in which the players include leaders from the ruling and the opposition fronts in the state. In due course all will know who are the ones behind this game plan of coming out with Natarajan trying to help me out in this case," said Achuthanandan.

Since Natarajan holds a constitutional post, even if the Kerala Police decide to go ahead with a case, they have to obtain the governor's consent. Leaving nothing to chance, the state government has entrusted the job to a high ranking official, Sreelekha.

In June last year, the Congress-led Oommen Chandy government ordered a probe after examining all files related to the land transfer to T.K. Soman, a relative of Achuthanandan.

The cabinet also decided to cancel the land allotment in Kasargode district to Soman, a former defence official.

The alleged land transfer took place at the fag end of Achuthanandan's tenure as the chief minister in early 2011.

As per government norms, when land is given to people in the defence category, it should not exceed more than an acre.

Instead, Soman was given 2.33 acres. The rule says such allotted land cannot be sold or transferred for 25 years.

In January this year, a vigilance probe arraigned the veteran Marxist leader as one of the eight accused in the case.

The investigating team has named four Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officials, including the then principal secretary to Achuthanandan, Sheela Thomas, as accused.

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