Free chappal scam case posted for March 4

CHENNAI, FEB. 26. With the completion of cross-examination of a prosecution witness today, the newly-appointed judge of the special court here will hear afresh arguments of the special public prosecutor on the ``free chappal scam'' case during the previous AIADMK rule, on March 4.

The former Social Welfare Minister, Indirakumari, and the then Khadi Minister, P. Easwaramoorthy, are among the 19 accused. A total of 188 prosecution witnesses were examined.

The special public prosecutor, V. Krishnamurthy, completed final arguments before the then special judge, R.Rajamanickam. The defence counsel was also heard in part when Ms. Indirakumari moved the court seeking to recall two prosecution witnesses— a former Chief Secretary, N. Haribhaskar, and an approver, Avinashi Balu, for cross-examination.

The judge allowed the plea. T. Mathivanan, was appointed the special judge and he advanced the hearing of ``free chappal scam'' case and the disproportionate wealth case against the former AIADMK MLA, Theni V.Panneerselvam. Mr. Haribhaskar was cross-examined today. The defence submitted that it was not examining the other witness. Following this, the judge fixed the date for hearing the final arguments.

In the ``free chappal scam'' case, it was alleged there were irregularities in the procurement of chappals, meant for distribution to schoolchildren in rural areas. Besides non-supply of footwear, the chappals supplied were of inferior quality. Due to this, the Government suffered a loss of Rs.1.20 crores.