Kerala

Bid to close bar bribery case alleged

Special Public Prosecutor lashes out at VACB for not investigating the case properly

The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) has come under fire from one of its Special Public Prosecutors for what he termed attempts to close corruption cases involving former Finance Minister K.M. Mani.

K.P. Satheesan, the Special Public Prosecutor, appointed for handling the bar bribery, battery tax concession and poultry scam cases, lashed out at the agency for not bothering to investigate the cases properly and instead choosing to close them even without discussing it with him.

“The VACB used me to create an impression that it was serious about the prosecution, though in reality, the agency was engaged in backroom operations for closing the cases,” Mr. Satheesan told The Hindu. The senior lawyer said he would speak out to people if the VACB further attempted to sabotage the investigations.

No one questioned

Even after one-and-a-half years of registering the ₹60 crore poultry corruption case, none of the accused were ever questioned. The investigation officer never turned up for discussion and no files were sent for perusal. No one knew about the fate of the case, he said.

“In the bar bribery case, a new investigation team was appointed after shifting the officials who began the probe. However, the new team never came for discussions and no files were sent for legal opinion,” Mr. Satheesan said. As the 45-day deadline fixed by the High Court for completing the investigation would end shortly, it was to be seen what the VACB would be coming up with, he said.

Battery case

Regarding the battery case, Mr. Satheesan said the probe team filed a closure report without consulting him.

Incidentally, the LDF government had chosen Mr. Satheesan, who had been the Special Prosecutor of the CBI in the High Court and other courts for more than a decade, for handling politically sensitive cases involving the senior politician.

While it was in the Opposition, the LDF had also campaigned against Mr. Mani, both inside and outside the Assembly and raised a volley of allegations, including charges of corruption.

Mr. Satheesan said he had not claimed any fee as he was not consulted in any of the cases. The lawyer said he was waiting for the government’s decision before making any move.

Earlier, the State government had informed the High Court that Mr. Satheesan was appointed as the Special Public Prosecutor to conduct the bar bribery case in the trial court.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 7:46:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/special-prosecutor-alleges-bidto-write-off-bar-bribery-case/article22723059.ece

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