The first Division Bench of the Madras High Court on Wednesday decided to continue to hear criminal original petitions filed by former Municipal Administration Minister S.P. Velumani of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam to quash two First Information Reports (FIRs) registered against him on corruption charges.
Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice N. Mala rejected the objection raised by Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) which contended that the quash petitions should be listed only before a single judge or before a Division Bench holding the portfolio for hearing cases related to past and present legislators.
Since a connected public interest litigation petition filed by Jayaram Venkatesan of non governmental organisation Arappor Iyakkam in 2018 was being heard by the first Division Bench, it would be better for the same Bench to hear the quash petitions too to avoid conflicting decisions in the matter, the Chief Justice said.
The Bench also rejected objections with respect to the appearance of senior counsel S.V. Raju, who was an Additional Solicitor General in the Supreme Court, on behalf of Mr. Velumani before the High Court in the quash petitions. It said, the court could not prevent his appearance until the Centre withdraws the permission granted to him.
Further, the Bench directed the High Court Registry to list the quash petitions for hearing on Friday since the petitioner insisted on staying the investigation in the two corruption cases. Though the court had already restrained the DVAC from filing a final report, the Bench said, it would take a call as to whether the interim order should be continued or withdrawn.