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Ramesh Chennithala asks CPI(M) central leadership to remove MM Mani

Kerala Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala on Saturday sought the intervention of CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury to remove party leader and State Electricity Minister MM Mani from the state cabinet, following a local court rejecting his plea for discharge in a murder case.

Chennithala, in a letter to Yechury, said, after the rejection of the discharge petition by Thodupuzha Additional Sessions Court, Mani had been named as second accused in the case related to the murder of youth Congress leader Anjeri Baby at Udumanchola in Idukki district on November 12, 1982.

Chennithala also mentioned that he was given to understand that CPI-M veteran VS Achuthanandan had written a letter to CPI-M central leadership questioning Mani’s continuation in office. “The letter of Achuthanandan serves to highlight the concern of people as reflected in debates about the involvement of CPI-M in political murders,” he said.

With regard to the contention of state party leaders that there was no need for Mani to resign as the case was pending even before he became MLA, Chennithala said, “This contention is nothing but specious and does not hide the unconstitutionality or the ignominy of a minister having to face trial in office.”

Chennithala urged Yechury to direct Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to remove Mani from the cabinet.

The case was reopened by the previous Congress-led UDF government after Mani made two controversial speeches in 2012 in which he publicly stated that the Communist party had often eliminated its political foes in Idukki district in the 1980s.

Thodupuzha Additional Sessions Court had dismissed the discharge petition of Mani, a member of the CPI-M state Secretariat, on December 24 last.

He was made a minister in November last, following resignation of Industries Minister E P Jayarajan on charges of nepotism.