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AG files fresh affidavit in data centre case

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AG files fresh affidavit in data centre case
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday allowed Advocate General K P Dandapani to file a fresh affidavit in a case related to the 2009 handing over of the management of the state's data centre by the V S Achuthanandan government to Reliance Communications.

During the hearing of the case on Monday, senior counsel K K Venugopal, who represented the state, informed the apex court that he had the affidavit of the AG with him and sought that he be allowed to file it. Though the court said that that should have been done earlier itself, it allowed filing of the affidavit. The court also directed that a copy of the affidavit be given to all the plaintiffs in the case.

The court adjourned the case for hearing until next week.

It was senior counsel V Giri who had represented the State during the earlier hearings. The court was informed that Venugopal would be representing the State henceforth.

The absence of attorney general Gulam E Vahanvati and the AG during the earlier hearing of the case had invited the court's censure. It was chief secretary E K Bharat Bhushan who filed an affidavit on behalf of the state government on October 7. Justices H L Dattu and M Y Iqbal found the affidavit unsatisfactory and asked why the chief secretary and not advocate general had filed the affidavit.

When the SC had considered the case on September 27, attorney general Vahanvati told the court that he had advised the state government against ordering a CBI probe into case and the government would take a decision accordingly. The court then ordered the government's stance to be presented in writing on October 7.

But the attorney general's view unleashed a political storm in the state, with even UDF constituents, and a section of the Congress, pointing fingers at chief minister Oommen Chandy and home minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan for allegedly scuttling the proposed CBI probe into the case in which opposition leader V S Achuthanandan is an accused.

Following the controversy, the state cabinet in its latest meeting decided to seek a CBI probe into the case. But the attorney general expressed his unwillingness to appear before the court and informed the judges that his advice was not heeded by the state government. On his part, the advocate general, who at first planned to appear for the state, also backed out following apprehensions of censure from the court.

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