Kerala

HC reprimands CM for supporting Mani

NEW DELHI, 11/12/2014: Kerala Finance Minister, K M Mani arrives to attend state FM's meeting with Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley (not in the picture) on Goods and Service Tax, at North Block in New Delhi on Thursday. December 11, 2014. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar.

NEW DELHI, 11/12/2014: Kerala Finance Minister, K M Mani arrives to attend state FM's meeting with Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley (not in the picture) on Goods and Service Tax, at North Block in New Delhi on Thursday. December 11, 2014. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar.   | Photo Credit: SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

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‘CBI probe desirable in bar bribery case’

Slamming a recent statement of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy that former Finance Minister K.M. Mani had not committed any offence, the Kerala High Court orally observed on Saturday that the bar bribery case against Mr. Mani should be investigated by some other agency such as CBI.

Justice B. Sudheendra Kumar, referring to media reports, said that when the Chief Minister made such a statement, nobody could expect a fair investigation by an agency functioning under him. The court made the observation while admitting a revision petition challenging the Thiruvananthapuram Vigilance Court directive to conduct further investigation in the bar bribery case came up for hearing.

The court called for all records relating to the case from the Vigilance Court and issued notice to all respondents, including Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan and Mr. Mani. The court restrained the investigation officers and their superiors from expressing comments openly on the merits of the case. If they had already made any comments, an affidavit could be filed by them through the Advocate General stating the circumstances under which the merit of the case was discussed and opinion expressed. The court passed an order to the effect.

In fact, when the court was about to pass an interim order seeking the views of the CBI in taking over the case, Advocate General K.P. Dandapani sought time to make further submissions on this issue.

In his revision petition, Sunny Mathew, who was a party in the case, pointed out that when the Vigilance Court had come to a conclusion that sufficient evidence was not available to prosecute the suspects, ordering further investigation in the case would be a futile exercise and would amount to an abuse of the process of law.

The complaint against the former Minister was politically motivated. If a person accused of accepting illegal gratification was made an accused, the person who paid the money should also be implicated as an accused in the case. The investigation officer in the instant case had not arraigned any other person as accused in the case as there was no material, direct or circumstantial evidence.

The court adjourned to December 2 the case for further hearing.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 10:01:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/hc-reprimands-cm-for-supporting-mani/article10222305.ece

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