Congress slams CPI-M over murder accused Kerala minister

Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 27 (IANS) The CPI-M should open up on how a murder accused in the cabinet of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan can continue, a senior Congress leader said on Tuesday.

Addressing reporters here, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said the Communist Party of India-Marxist always speaks of keeping to the high moral ground by those holding office of power.

“On Saturday, a court had dismissed a petition filed by CPI-M leader and state Electricity Minister M.M. Mani, seeking discharge from the case related to the murder of a Youth Congress leader in 1982,” Chennithala said.

“With this, he is now an accused and has no moral right to continue as a minister. Very soon, when the trial of the case begins, we will have to see our state minister standing in the box in the court,” the Congress leader said.

“Such a thing has never happened in our state and hence we are all waiting to hear from the national leadership of the CPI-M. Mani has to resign without any more delay,” added Chennithala.

Mani is the second accused in the case which was reopened by the previous Oommen Chandy government after Mani himself in a public speech said they have killed three of their political rivals.

Following this, he was arrested and later let off on bail. The lower court at Idukki, however, last week refused to discharge him from the case.

“Not only has the court failed to give him a discharge, a few other top CPI-M leaders have now been included in the list of accused. Even former Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has asked for Mani’s resignation. We all want to hear what the national leadership of the CPI-M has to say,” added Chennithala.

While Mani has said the court verdict is not going to affect him , CPI-M state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan pointed out that the case was hoisted on him and his electorate has given him their verdict by sending him to the assembly in the May elections.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state unit has already launched protests demanding Mani’s resignation. The Congress-led UDF would meet on January 3 to decide on the course of protest to be launched to ensure Mani steps down.

–IANS

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