Tamil Nadu

Madras High Court refuses to stay FIR against former Minister SP Velumani

File photo shows former Minister S.P. Velumani interacting with supporters in Coimbatore after DVAC search.

File photo shows former Minister S.P. Velumani interacting with supporters in Coimbatore after DVAC search. | Photo Credit: M. PERIYASAMY

The Madras High Court on Monday refused to stay all further proceedings pursuant to registration of a First Information Report (FIR) registered against former AIADMK Minister S.P. Velumani for alleged irregularities in award of corporation contracts.

Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice N. Mala rejected a plea for interim stay. They directed Advocate General R Shunmugasundaram, representing Directorate of Vigilance and Anti Corruption, to file a counter affidavit to the FIR quash petition within three weeks.

Senior Counsel N.R. Elango representing DMK’s R.S. Bharathi and advocate V. Suresh, representing anti corruption outfit Arappor Iyakkam, were also given time to file their counter affidavits. Mr. Bharthi and the NGO had approached the court in 2018 for registration of a case against the Minister.

Then, the court appointed Superintendent of Police R. Ponni to probe into the complaints of irregularities in award of contracts by Greater Chennai and Coimbatore corporations during the AIADMK regime and find out whether any cognisable offence had been made out.

The officer gave a clean chit to the former Minister in December 2019 and the then government too accepted her report in January 2020. However, after a change of rule in the State in May 2021, the DVAC registered FIR against him on the basis of an adverse observations by the Comptroller and Auditor General.

Thereafter, the High Court directed the DVAC to complete the probe within 10 weeks and closed the petitions of the two complainants. However, when the former Minister took the matter on appeal, the Supreme Court remanded it to the High Court for a fresh hearing. It ordered that a copy of the preliminary inquiry report, in which he was given a clean chit, must be furnished to him and also granted him liberty to move the High Court for getting the FIR stayed.

Accordingly, when the FIR quash plea was heard on Monday, the A-G contended that the former Minister must approach the single judge under Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure for getting the FIR quashed and that he could not file a sub application before the Division Bench. On their part, Mr. Elango and Mr. Suresh argued that nothing survives in the petitions filed by them in 2018 since the DVAC had registered FIR now.

However, the counsel for the former Minister contended that the registration of the FIR was with a mala fide intention and wondered how the DVAC could do so when a preliminary inquiry did not find any material relating to commission of cognisable offence.

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2022 5:08:32 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/madras-high-court-refuses-to-stay-fir-against-former-minister-sp-velumani/article65569520.ece