Seeks review of verdict sentencing him to one-year rigorous imprisonment in Idamalayar case

The former Kerala Minister, R. Balakrishna Pillai, and the former Chairman of the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), Ramabhadran Nair, sentenced to one-year rigorous imprisonment in the Idamalayar Hydroelectric Power Project case, moved the Supreme Court on Saturday seeking review of the February 10 judgment.

A Bench of Justices P. Sathasivam and B.S. Chauhan had allowed a special leave petition filed by Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan (who was then Leader of the Opposition) against a Kerala High Court judgment acquitting three, after reversing the trial court verdict.

Mr. Achuthanandan filed the appeal since the State did not prefer an appeal against the acquittal.

The review petition filed by E.M.S. Anam, advocate for Mr. Pillai, said the seminal question “is whether it would be open to the leader of a political party, to utilise a system for the purpose of prosecuting a leader of the ruling political party at that time for purely political gains.”

Further “the core question to be decided by the Supreme Court was whether the Chief Minister of a State was entitled to continue an appeal preferred by him when he was Leader of the Opposition and to take a stand contrary to the stand taken by the State government, which was implicit in the fact that no appeal was preferred for almost two years since the High Court judgment.”

The petition asked: “Would he [Mr. Achuthanandan] be having the status of a person interested? Was his interest in the administration of criminal justice or was his interest in putting down a political opponent and thus seeking to win elections based on his prosecuting the case in the Supreme Court?”

Serious efforts

On legal grounds, the petition said the impugned judgment suffered from very serious errors apparent as “it does not state or specify the provisions or the statutes under which the accused are sentenced.

The article was corrected for a factual error.

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