Kozhikode: A remark by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan against an opposition MLA is snowballing into controversy with the MLA coming out with more accusations against the government over allegedly misappropriating the CM's distress relief fund.
Vijayan had on Wednesday criticised K M Shaji (IUML), an MLA of the opposition UDF, who accused the government of diverting the fund for providing legal aid to CPI(M) leaders and cadres involved in murder cases.
Vijayan was responding to a Facebook post by the MLA ridiculing the government for canvassing money from various quarters to the relief fund.
The MLA had alleged that this was being done to meet the legal expenses related to the criminal case against few CPI(M) leaders accused in murder cases.
The fund is grossly misappropriated to pay the hefty fee of the advocates appearing for the CPI(M) criminals, Shaji alleged.
Addressing the media here on Thursday, Shaji, an outspoken MLA of the Muslim League, came down heavily on the Chief Minister for being "intolerant" against those who question the utilisation of the distress relief fund.
Without disclosing the name of the beneficiary, he accused the government of misappropriating the fund by gifting an amount of Rs
25 lakh to an MLA in the ruling front to settle his debts.
"The distress relief fund is made of contributions by people and institutions for meeting expenses in natural calamities and the alike and to compensate those who lost lives and property.
But, gifting money to settle personal bank dues was unethical," the MLA alleged.
Meanwhile, declaring the party's support to the MLA, the IUML national general secretary and Malappuram MP, P K Kunhalikutty urged the Chief Minister not to get agitated over relevant questions raised by the MLA.
"The government should ensure that the relief fund is properly and judiciously utilised.Our support to the government (during the COVID-19 lockdown) does not mean that nothing will be questioned.
The style and language of criticism depends on individuals and it may be treated as the individuals freedom of expression and creativity of presenting things," the MP said.