The Kerala High Court on Friday gave Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Power Minister Aryadan Mohammed a two-month respite from being investigated by the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau.
The vigilance court in Thrissur on Thursday had ordered a probe with registration of an FIR against Mr. Chandy and Mr. Mohammed, who are in the centre of a political storm > over corruption allegations raised by Saritha S Nair , a key accused in the solar scam that has rocked the State. While staying the vigilance court directive in response to writ petitions filed by Mr. Chandy and Mr. Mohammed, the High Court came down heavily on S.S. Vasan, the vigilance judge who had issued the order based on a complaint by a local activist.
Justice P. Ubaid severely castigated the judge, observing that the complaint was based on newspaper reports and a CD of unknown content, and newspaper reports have only hearsay value. He also remarked that the Supreme Court had made it obligatory to cause a preliminary inquiry on a complaint made under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) before it was forwarded to the police with a directive to register a crime and investigate it.
Soon after the High Court order, Mr. Vasan, who has two more years until retirement, e-mailed the High Court Registrar, requesting to be allowed to put in his papers.
Charges a political conspiracy: Chandy
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Power Minister Aryadan Mohammed in their writ petitions before the High Court against the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau order, contended that scam accused >Saritha S. Nair’s revelations were based on a conspirac y, and made with an ulterior motive to obtain pecuniary advantage from parties with vested interests, besides to effect a withdrawal of the ongoing investigation into crimes committed by her.
They also alleged that the State’s Opposition parties may have had an active role in it, claiming they were “hand in glove with anti-government forces to capitalise on politically, in the upcoming elections to the Assembly.”
Even as the High Court was delivering its order, sporadic violence erupted in many districts across Kerala leaving many injured, with workers of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) and the BJP protesting against Mr. Chandy’s refusal to quit office clashing with the police.
Meanwhile, Ms. Nair deposed before the Justice Sivarajan panel probing the solar scam on Friday. Her deposition will continue on Saturday.