With his gunman off CBI probe list, Chandy gets reprieve

Kochi, July 22 (IANS) Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy who faced a lot of flak from the opposition, got a reprieve on Wednesday when the CBI did not include his former gunman in the list of six accused in a land usurping case.

Salim Raj was last month arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), but on Wednesday when the investigators submitted the list of six accused to a court here, his name did not figure in it.

The list, however, contained two of his relatives and four revenue officials, including a woman official.

The CBI has been probing the case of land grab near Kochi for the past one year.

Salim Raj’s name had also figured in a similar land grab case in the capital city.

Both inside and outside the assembly and in all recent election campaigns, the opposition had been using Raj’s name to attack Chandy and the chief minister had time and again maintained that he had done nothing to favour his former security staff.

Chandy had always said that this case had first come up in 2007 when V.S. Achuthanandan was the chief minister and after a probe by his police team, they closed the case, stating that there was nothing criminal in it, and it was just a civil case.

Raj, a constable with Kerala Police, was the gunman of Chandy but was booted out of the security job in 2013 after it was found that he was alleged to have been in close contacts with Saritha Nair, one of the key accused in the infamous Solar scam case.

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