The Thrissur Vigilance Court on Friday rejected the State government’s plea to quash the palmolein import corruption case.
While rejecting the petition, Vigilance judge K. Haripal said withdrawal of the case was against public interest. Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan and CPI leader V.S. Sunil Kumar, MLA, had filed petitions in the court against the government’s plea.
The court observed that counsel representing the State government had never appeared during the trial. Additional legal advisor Biju Baskar used to appear for the government in the case. But legal advisor P.C. Augustine appeared with the plea for quashing the case.
The Vigilance court decided to continue with the procedures against the seven accused in the case. The case was postponed for further procedures to February 22.
The State Cabinet had taken the decision to file an application for withdrawing the case last September. The court had earlier given a clean chit to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy citing there was no material evidence suggesting his involvement in the case.
Former Chief Minister K. Karunakaran was the first accused in the case.
A Vigilance case was filed in 1997. Mr. Chandy, the then Finance Minister, was the 23rd witness in the case.
The other accused in the case were - former Food Minister T.H. Mustaffa, former Chief Secretary S. Padmakumar, former Additional Chief Secretary Zachariah Mathew, former Director of the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation Jiji Thomson, former Director of P&E Pvt Ltd Sadasivan, Director of P&E Pvt Ltd Sivaramakrishnan, and former Secretary of Food and Civil Supplies Department P.J. Thomas.
>>The penultimate paragraph in “State’s plea to quash palmolein case rejected” (Jan. 10, 2014, some editions) read: “A Vigilance case was filed in 1997. Mr. [Oommen] Chandy, the then Finance Minister, was the 23rd accused in the case.” It should have been 23rd witness.