Justifies statement before Kerala High Court

The Advocate General, on Monday, justified in the Supreme Court that his statement before the Kerala High Court for a CBI investigation into the handing over of the State Data Centre to the Reliance Group in 2008 was based on instructions from Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

Senior counsel K.K. Venugopal, appearing for the State, presented the Advocate General’s affidavit before a Bench of Justices H.L. Dattu and M.Y. Eqbal. The Bench, while taking the affidavit on file, adjourned the matter to next week.

The investigation pertains to the role of the former Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, T.G. Nandakumar (who was alleged to have facilitated the award of tender), and three others in the award of tender for IT services management, consisting of operations, maintenance, upgrade, security audit and certification, of the State Data Centre and three network operating centres.

In his affidavit, the Advocate General said the writ petition came up for admission in the Kerala High Court on February 6, 2012, and it was adjourned to February 23 to enable him to seek instructions. Thereafter, he wrote to the Chief Secretary, with copies marked to the Secretary, Vigilance Department, the Director General of Police, and the Director, Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau for instructions for the purpose of defending the case.

On February 23, he was asked over the phone by Mr. Chandy to report to the court that the State government would entrust the investigation of the case to the CBI.

He said, “Based on the said instruction given to me by the Chief Minister, I made a submission before the High Court on February 23 to the effect that a decision is already taken at the government level to hand over the case to the CBI, recording which the writ petition was closed.”

In his affidavit, the Chief Secretary also pressed for a CBI investigation. He said the State Cabinet had rejected the advice of Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati against instituting a CBI inquiry into the case.

The Attorney General had instead suggested that the State government go for a Vigilance investigation first.

But the affidavit, he said, sought to correct him saying the Vigilance had already looked into the matter. It also recalled that the State government was favourably disposed to the option of a CBI inquiry from as early as February last year.

This was based on exchange of views between, and the collective decision of, Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, who is in charge of Vigilance, and IT Minister P.K. Kunhalikkutty.

  • Files affidavit in Supreme Court

  • Matter adjourned to next week