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Chacko masterminded attack, says Venugopal

By Our Special Correspondent

KOCHI, JUNE 4. The Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) general secretary and Karunakaran loyalist, N. Venugopal, has alleged that Wednesday's violence at the KPCC executive meeting was part of a plot to end the political career of the former KPCC president, K. Muraleedharan.

Mr. Venugopal, who has been named as the second accused in the police first information report (FIR) on the violence, alleged that P.C. Chacko, a former MP, was the mastermind behind the plot.

"The entire episode was a conspiracy to politically finish off Mr. Muraleedharan," Mr. Venugopal told a news conference. According to him, those who had planned the attack wanted to oust the Chief Minister, A.K. Antony. They wanted to discredit both the party set-up and the Government before the high command. The `stage managed attack' against the former KPCC general secretaries, Saratchandra Prasad and Rajmohan Unnithan, was the means to achieve this end, he claimed.

He said that the violence had a lot of similarities with the ISRO espionage controversy over a decade back. The ISRO espionage case had been fabricated to discredit the then Chief Minister, K. Karunakaran, and to force him out of office, alleged Mr. Venugopal.

Mr. Venugopal, who is now facing the charge of attempt to murder, denied that either he or Mr. Muraleedharan had anything to do with the violence on Wednesday.

Asked if the case was fabricated and foisted on him and Mr. Muraleedharan, he would only say: "It has no relation with reality."

Detailing his charge against Mr. Chacko, Mr. Venugopal said that the latter was a disgruntled person, as he had been denied a seat in the Lok Sabha election. Mr. Chacko had made scurrilous statements against Mr. Muraleedharan during the run-up to the election. He had also given all support to Mr. Saratchandra Prasad and Mr. Rajmohan Unnithan when they were expelled from the party. After the polls were over, Mr. Chacko had blamed Mr. Antony and Mr. Karunakaran for the defeat of the Congress candidates. He had also sought a change of leadership in the party and the Government, pointed out Mr. Venugopal.

Mr. Venugopal claimed that Mr. Chacko's aim was to project that both the Antony-headed Government and the P.P. Thankachan-headed KPCC were not functioning smoothly. Mr. Chacko was keen to prove to the party high command that the Antony-Karunakaran truce was not a genuine one, but one that was thrashed out for the election, and that the two were back to square one after the elections.

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