Thiruvananthapuram: On expected lines the opening day of the fresh 27-day session of the Kerala Assembly began on Monday on a tumultuous note with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala wrangling over State Police chief Loknath Behera.
While Vijayan ruled out removing Behera from the post, Chennithala demanded removal of Behera and wanted a CBI probe into the damning the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on state police.
Vijayan dismissed all the allegations levelled by senior Congress legislator P.T.Thomas as baseless, when he sought to move an adjournment motion into the CAG report, that talks of missing guns and cartridges, misuse of funds, and diversion of funds.
"Every guideline in the store purchase manual and CVC guidelines have been violated by Behera which the CAG has pointed out and the corruption that has happened under him is over Rs 300 crores, the biggest ever scam. But for some reason you are wary of Behera and all know it's because you are travelling on the 'Behera bridge' to reach the Centre as the Supreme Court is all set to give its verdict on the SNC Lavalin case, and hence you are shielding him. We will have to now suspect you," said Thomas.
Replying to it, Vijayan said none need to even think that Behera will be moved out.
" It's most unfortunate you are attacking Behera and it will be sending wrong signals to the morale of the police force. The CAG report will now be scrutinised by the public accounts committee of the legislature and we will wait till their report comes. The question of a CBI probe does not arise at all," said the Chief Minister.
"Moreover, you have for a while being mentioning often about the SNC Lavalin case, please note that I was discharged by the Kerala high court. Now the CBI has filed an appeal in Athe supreme court. At the moment I am not an accused at all. All know you want me to be in the loop, but I have nothing to be worried," added Vijayan.
Reacting to the Chief Minister's reply, Chennithala said that they have nothing personal against Behera.
"During our tenure also this officer was in charge of purchases and he was moved out. It's most surprising to note that when the CAG examined rifles was missing and when you asked for a probe by Crime Branch head Tomin Thachenkery, the missing rifles surfaced, what magic is this. You continue to shield Behera, this does not augur well and if you are unable to take appropriate action against the person as pointed out by the CAG, it shows you are not fit to be the Home Minister and as Chief Minister, you are an abject failure,a said Chennithala.
Chennithala also reminded Vijayan that Laloo Prasad Yadav was exonerated by the lower courts , but the apex court send him to jail.
" If you feel you are clean, it's fine, but at the moment you are not exonerated and that's what we spoke about the SNC Lavlain case," added Chennithala.
With the speaker denying a discussion on this issue, the opposition trooped into the well of the house shouting slogans, forcing the speaker to run through the listed business in a flash and adjourned the house for the day.