Antony was against Karunakaran's ouster, says KPCC president

Twenty-two years after K Karunakaran was removed as Kerala chief minister in the wake of the ISRO spy case, KPCC president M M Hassan has stirred a hornest's nest by saying Congress leader A K Antony was against the leader's ouster.

A "reluctant" Antony was asked to contest the state Assembly polls by then prime minister Narasimha Rao and was eventually anointed as chief minister, Hassan said in Kozhikode yesterday.

He also said that he "regretted" having worked for the removal of Karunakaran.

Antony, the CWC member and former Union defence minister, did not favour Karunakaran's removal from the post and stated that a demand for change in style of functioning or a warning would have been enough, the KPCC chief said.

"I now regret having acted against Karunakaran. Antony was against removing Karunakaran and he said so to me and Oommen Chandy (former chief minister)," Hassan said at a function held to mark the seventh death anniversary of Karunakaran.

As the remarks created a mild furore, Chandy refused to comment.

Hassan today said that he stood by what he said.

"There is no need to give any other meaning or interpretation to my remarks," he said here.

The ISRO spy case had caused political upheavels in Kerala, leading to the resignation of Karunakaran.

There had been allegations that Karunakaran's bete noire Antony had played a role in removing him as chief minister in 1995.

The espionage case, which hit the headlines in 1994, pertained to charges of transfer of certain confidential documents on India's space programme to other countries by two scientists and four others, including two Maldivian women.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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