Embarrassment for CPM over graft charges

A corruption charge against one of party mouthpiece Desabhimani's senior managers, lands the CPI-M in a piquant situation, reports Ramesh Babu.

india Updated: Jun 28, 2007 02:52 IST
Ramesh Babu
Ramesh Babu
Hindustan Times

A major corruption charge against one of the senior managers of the party mouthpiece, ‘Desabhimani,’ has landed the ruling CPI-M in a piquant situation.

The issue figured prominently in the assembly on Wednesday leading to a walkout by the Congress-led Opposition.

Though the CPM had expelled K. Venugopal, deputy GM of ‘Desabhimani’ and a close relative of legendary Marxist A.K. Gopalan, for allegedly accepting Rs 1 crore from a businessman, the charge continues to haunt the party.

The one-time protégé of party secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, Venugopal was accused of accepting Rs 1 crore from a chit-fund owner for hushing up the case against him. But when the promised work failed to materialise, the owner had spilled the beans.

Started in 1974, the ‘LIS Group’ allegedly took deposits offering unrealistic returns, from dealing in lottery tickets, and the police shut down the firm on May 10 last year saying it was a money chain business. But soon, the promoters launched the same scheme under a new name ‘Jyotis.’ Venugopal allegedly promised the firm that he would get the business reopened in return for Rs 1 crore.

But with the time running out, the firm approached top CPM leaders for help. That was when an inquiry was held and the party decided to expel Venugopal. An embarrassed party had to issue a statement announcing the expulsion of Venugopal for ‘defaming the party.’

Now the Opposition Congress say that a senior official would not have gone to this extent without the blessings of the party leaders.

“It is not an allegation. The CPM had admitted that he took money. Then why the government failed to book the accused,” Opposition leader Oommen Chandy asked in the assembly.

“This shows the clear nexus between the CPM leaders with corrupt businessmen,” Congress spokesman M.M. Hassan said.

First Published: Jun 28, 2007 02:49 IST