Will Chandy government pardon UDF leader?

June 11th, 2011 - 5:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, June 11 (IANS) R. Balakrishna Pillai, chief of the Kerala Congress (B), has almost exhausted 45 days of parole in a corruption case. And now everyone is asking if the Oommen Chandy government will pardon him as his party is a partner in the ruling UDF coalition.

The 77-year-old Pillai, an eight-time legislator and a one-time Lok Sabha member, was jailed for a year in February in a two-decade-old corruption case raised by former chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan.

With Chandy replacing Achuthanandan as chief minister, Pillai has now attempted to take cover under a rule that says the state government is at liberty to release any prisoner above the age of 65 if they have served a particular period of their jail sentence.

Having exhausted his parole, Pillai is supposed to return to jail latest by Monday.

Soon after Chandy took over, Pillai submitted a remission petition to the authorities and the government asked for a report from Additional Director General of Police Alexander Jacob.

Jacob told IANS he has submitted a report to the government to this effect.

“The rules do permit of remission and this provision in the past has been made use of. But there are conditions and stipulations for this provision,” he said.

In the past two decades, 2,000 prisoners have been let off, of which 100 got out using the provisions in the remission rules.

Now all eyes are on what the state government does because if Pillai is given the benefit of remission, then there are 27 others who are above age 75, of whom 18 are seriously ill.

Meanwhile, Achuthanandan has raised a banner of revolt and has warned the Chandy government not to play truant and allow Pillai to walk scot free, and if it happens he would be forced to go to the court.

The issue is expected to come up before the cabinet Wednesday and all eyes are on what moral high ground would Chandy take, which would be the first real test for the government.

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