SC notice to Jacob Thomas

The Supreme Court has issued notice to Jacob Thomas, former Director General of Police in Kerala, in an appeal challenging the Kerala High Court's decision to quash a corruption case.

The case concerned a purchase made when he served as the Director of Ports Department.

A Bench led by Justice Ajay Rastogi on Friday issued notice on the appeal filed by Sathyan Naravoor, represented by advocate Kaleeswaram Raj. Mr. Naravoor said the FIR in the case was filed at his instance though his name does not appear in the cause title of the case in the courts. The special leave petition he has filed in the apex court is in a “third party” capacity.

Mr. Naravoor has arraigned, besides Mr. Thomas, the Kerala Secretary of Department of Ports, Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau and the investigating officer of the case as respondents in his appeal before the court.

The court has issued the notice to be returnable on March 25, 2022.

Mr. Naravoor alleged that the High Court erroneously quashed the case by "putting an end to the investigation which was underway". The High Court exercised its quashing powers "when there were serious allegations of financial misappropriation against the accused". Mr. Naravoor contended that Mr. Thomas "abused his position to reap financial gains at the expense of the government exchequer".

The allegation in the case was that Mr. Thomas conspired with M/s IHC Merwede Holland in the purchase of a cutter suction dredger.

Mr. Naravoor, in his appeal, said the former senior police official acting in his capacity as Ports Director ensured that the company got the tender despite "quoting a much higher price from the sanctioned expense by the government and in complete disregard to relatively lower bid by another public vendor M/s BEML".

The High Court, however, in its decision in November last year, observed that the allegations in the FIR did not reveal commission of an offence by the petitioner under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The court observed there was official communication to show that a technical committee was constituted and it had approved the specifications of the cutter suction dredger and fixed an estimated cost.

The High Court had concluded that Mr. Thomas, either personally or in his official capacity as the Director of Ports, had not awarded the contract to M/s. IHC Merwede.

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Printable version | Jul 6, 2022 8:55:37 am |