Kerala assembly sees heated exchange over Chandy's former gunman
Communist Party of India-Marxist politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan Monday lost his cool in the Kerala state assembly after Chief Minister Oommen Chandy rebutted him over a matter concerning Chandy's former gunman, R. Salim Raj.
The gunman, a constable with the state police, has been suspended from service.
Seeking leave for an adjournment motion, Balakrishnan said Raj, in conspiracy with others, was the mastermind behind two illegal real estate deals worth over Rs.400 crore involving 45 acres of land.
"Even the high court on numerous occasions made references to Raj, and wished to know why even the director general of police appears to be scared of a constable like Raj. It was strange to see that even the advocate general of the state appears in the high court to state that the mobile call details of Raj cannot be given out. You (Chandy) are the one who is supporting Raj in all his shady deals," Balakrishnan, who has served as state home minister during 2006-11, said.
Chandy immediately pointed out that the case first surfaced in November 2006, when Balakrishnan was home minister.
"Your own police investigation team, after a detailed probe, submitted a report that this land deal did not have any criminal nature. Instead, it was a civil matter, and only the courts can settle this. Please also note that during the period you were in office, the name of Raj was never ever there. You only took the lead to write off these cases as a civil matter, and now you are here accusing me," Chandy said, as members on the treasury benches thumped their desks.
With this, Balakrishnan lost his cool, and speaker G. Karthikeyan intervened to expunge a sentence he spoke against Chandy.
"Yes, then Raj did not have any role, but only after you became the chief minister, he came into the picture and has joined the gang to usurp the land. Please let us know why you people are afraid of giving out call details of Raj," Balakrishnan said.
"The case has now been investigated by the vigilance department. The report has been handed over to the court. I assure the house that no one who has broken the law of the land will be let off," Chandy said.
Unhappy with the reply, leader of opposition in the state assembly V.S. Achuthanandan led a walk-out from the house.
Raj was suspended as Chandy's gunman last year after it came to light that he had links with a couple engaged in fraudulent deals. The couple had posed as being closely linked to people in high office, to coax investors to invest in their firm, which they promised would supply solar panels at cheap rates.
(Posted on 21-01-2014)
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