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Palmolein import case: Kodiyeri seeks Chandy’s resignation

Palmolein import case: Kodiyeri seeks Chandy’s resignation

Thiruvananthapuram: Deputy leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Kodieyri Balakrishnan on Friday demanded resignation of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in the view of a vigilance court order which turned town the government's request to withdraw the infamous palmolein import case that took place way back in 1992.

“The then vigilance minister had appealed not to move the court seeking withdrawal of the case. But Oommen Chandy went against it and took the decision himself in the Cabinet meeting,” Kodiyeri told reporters here.

In September last year, the Oommen Chandy government approached the Thrissur vigilance court with the request to withdraw the case, but soon thereafter Leader of Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan and CPI legislator V.S. Sunil Kumar filed a petition opposing the withdrawal.

On Friday, the vigilance court judge refused to take up the request of the state government, and posted the case for hearing February 22.

The state government approached the court stating that there was no corruption involved in the case, and since the matter had been in the courts for more than two decades, government officials who were party to the case were finding their careers affected.

The import of 15,000 tonnes of palmolein was undertaken in 1992.

The case 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 to the state exchequer by importing oil from Malaysia at an enhanced price.

Thomas had to step down as the central vigilance commissioner and Thompson's promotion prospects hit a dead-end on account of the inordinate delay in the case.

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