Court stops probe against Chandy in palmoil case

September 27th, 2011 - 6:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Pratibha Patil Kochi, Sep 27 (IANS) The Kerala High Court Tuesday asked the vigilance court investigating if Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, then finance minister, had any role in the 1992 palmoil import case to stop any further probe.

A single bench of Justice K.T.Shankaran gave the order on a petition from senior bureaucrat and an accused in the case Jiji Thompson, who pleaded that his promotions have been hampered in the case going on for years.

The judge asked for all the records of the vigilance probe and posted the next hearing in the case for Oct 17.

The case was in the news when vigilance court judge P.K.Haneefa Aug 8 rejected the vigilance department’s report that gave a clean chit to Chandy. He asked the department to to further investigate Chandy’s role and submit the report in three months’ time.

Since then the opposition was up in arms and demanded that Chandy should go. However, Congress chief whip P.C.George then shot off a letter to President Pratibha Patil and the chief justices of both the Supreme Court and the high court here, contending that Haneefa’s action was against the law and citing a few apex court judgments in support of his claim.

Following the letter, Haneefa Saturday relinquished the case and requested the high court to make alternate arrangements.

The case, relating to the import of 15,000 tonnes of palmoil, was registered in 1999 when a Left Front government led by E.K. Nayanar was in power.

The previous chief minister K. Karunakaran, his food minister T.H. Mustafa and bureaucrats P.J. Thomas and Jiji Thompson were charged with causing a loss of Rs.2.32 crore by importing oil from Malaysia at an enhanced price.

The case against Karunakaran was dropped after his death, and Thomas resigned as the Chief Vigilance Commissioner after his controversial selection for the post became the subject of a case in the Supreme Court.

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