R. Balakrishna Pillai, former Minister and Kerala Congress (B) leader, was on Friday remanded to the Central Prison, Thiruvananthapuram, after he surrendered before Idamalayar Special Court Judge V. Vijayakumar to serve the one-year rigorous imprisonment awarded in the Idamalayar case.
The Supreme Court had last week sentenced him along with Ramabhadran Nair, former chairman, Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), and P.K. Sajeev, a friend of Mr. Pillai and now Kerala Congress (M) leader, to one-year rigorous imprisonment in the case and a fine of Rs.10,000 each, overturning the High Court verdict acquitting all the three. The Supreme Court verdict came on an appeal filed by Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan (the then Leader of the Opposition) against the High Court verdict.
The Special Court on Wednesday issued arrest warrant against all the three convicts after rejecting the plea of Mr. Pillai to grant him time to surrender before the court.
The prosecution charge was that Mr. Pillai, who was the Electricity Minister in the United Democratic Front (UDF) government during 1980-87, along with the other accused had caused a loss of Rs. 2 crore to the KSEB by awarding contracts for the construction of a power tunnel and surge shaft of the Idamalayar hydroelectric project to K.P. Poulose (now deceased) at “extraordinarily high rates.” There were as many as 11 accused in the case. Eight of them were acquitted by the Special Court.
The third accused, P.K. Sajeev, was also sent to the Central Prison, Thiruvananthapuram, after he surrendered before the court. Mr. Pillai and Mr. Sajeev also deposited the fine of Rs.10,000 each as directed by the Supreme Court. The police did not execute the arrest warrant against the second convict, Ramabhadran Nair (81), who was in Thiruvananthapuram as he was in dementia.
The court rejected 76 year-old Mr. Pillai's plea for providing A-class facilities in prison while remanding him to prison. However, the court ordered that he be given adequate medical assistance at the prison. His counsel had earlier stated that he had become MLA three times and served as a Member of Parliament once. Besides, he was suffering from cardiac and other illnesses. He was also facing security threat to his life due to political reasons. In fact, the government had posted a gunman for his protection. Therefore, counsel pleaded that he be categorised as A class prisoner as per the prison rules. Both the convicts pleaded for sending them to the Central Prison, Thiruvananthapuram.
Earlier in the day, he arrived at the special court to surrender, accompanied by his actor-turned-politician son and MLA B. Ganesh Kumar, his son-in-law and Industries Secretary T. Balakrishnan and party activists.
As many as 120 police personnel, including commandos under P.V. Varghese, Assistant Commissioner, Thrikkakara, were deployed to control the party workers who had thronged the premises of the Special Court.