Vigilance gives clean chit to Chandy in palm oil case

January 7th, 2012 - 7:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Thrissur (Kerala), Jan 7 (IANS) The state vigilance department has given Chief Minister Oommen Chandy a clean chit after investigating if he had any role in the 1992 palm oil imports when he was the state’s finance minister.

A 90-page report prepared by investigating officer V.N. Sasidharan was submitted to the Thrissur Vigilance Court Saturday, which is now looking into the case and would take up for hearing Feb 27.

In October last year, a division bench of the Kerala High Court declared as null and void the observation made by a vigilance court in Thiruvananthapuram against Chandy and asked the department to complete the re-investigation into the palm oil import case in six weeks.

The vigilance department had earlier submitted a report that there was nothing that could indict Chandy in the case.

Kerala imported 15,000 tonnes of palm oil in 1992. The case based on allegations of higher payment for the imported palm oil was registered in 1999 when the Communists led by E.K. Nayanar were in power.

Former chief minister K. Karunakaran, then 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.

Even though the events of the case date back to 1992, it hit headlines in August last year when the Thiruvananthapuram special vigilance Judge Haneefa told the vigilance department, after rejecting its clean chit to Chandy, to conduct further investigation against the chief minister and submit the report in three months.

Soon after Haneefa gave this direction, government chief whip P.C. George shot a letter to the president and chief justices of both the Supreme Court and the Kerala High Court that Haneefa’s action was against the law of the country. He cited a few apex court judgments.

And with this debate taking centrestage and George insisting that what he did was within the rules, Haneefa relinquished the case and the high court then asked the Thrissur Vigilance Court to take it over.

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