Ernakulam Congress leadership conducts inquiry into charges against Thrikkakara municipal chairperson

LDF councillors allege bid to destroy CCTV recordings from municipality office

The Ernakulam District Congress Committee (DCC) led by vice president Mohammed Shiyas met with chairpersons of various standing committees of the Thrikkakara municipality at the DCC office on Tuesday in connection with an inquiry into allegations that the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) council, led by chairperson Ajitha Thankappan of the party, paid ₹10,000 each to the 43 members of the municipal council ahead of Onam celebrations.

Party sources said a report would be submitted to the district Congress leadership on the basis of the hearings held on Tuesday. Mr. Shiyas spoke to the councillors to collect evidence on the allegations.

The Congress party had said that it would take stringent action if any wrongdoing was detected even as Ms. Thankappan denied the allegations and termed them a conspiracy to bring her down from her position.

The Left Democratic Front (LDF) councillors have, meanwhile, alleged that there was an attempt to destroy the CCTV recordings from the municipality office and have submitted a complaint to the municipal secretary and the police to look into the matter and take action. There had been an attempt to destroy video evidence and those visuals should be protected, said an Opposition councillor.

Revenue Minister K. Rajan has said that action will be taken on the basis of a Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) investigation into the allegations. The Opposition leader in the council M.K. Chandrababu of the CPI(M) and Independent councillor M.C. Manoop were among the 18 councillors who sought a VACB probe into the issue.

Congress party sources said the first step would be to find out if the allegations were based on facts. Party sources had said that a preliminary understanding was that the municipal council had not paid money to the councillors and the allegations against the chairperson and the ruling council were not true.

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