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HC stays vigilance court order in Palmolein case

HC stays vigilance court order in Palmolein case

Kochi: In some relief for the Congress-led UDF government, the Kerala High Court Monday stayed for two months a Vigilance court order disallowing the government from withdrawing the Palmoelin import graft case of 1992.

The order in this regard was issued by Justice M L Joseph Francis on a petition by the state government, challenging the Thrissur vigilance court order.

The state said the vigilance legal advisor appearing before the special court was designated as Special Prosecutor and therefore was empowered to file appeal to withdraw prosecution.

The vigilance court had dismissed the application on the ground that the vigilance legal advisor, who appeared for the state, was not competent to file a discharge application.

While rejecting the state's petition, Vigilance Court Judge K Haripal had stated that the withdrawal of the case was against public interest.

The cabinet had decided to file an application to withdraw the case last September. The court had earlier given a clean chit to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, citing no material evidence suggesting his involvement in the case.

The government had decided to withdraw the case, pertaining to alleged corruption and irregularities in the palmolein import deal, holding that it hadd not caused any loss to the exchequer nor had anyone made any unlawful gain from it.

The case had marred the careers of late Congress veteran K Karunakaran and former Central Vigilance Commissioner P J Thomas, who figured as accused in the charge sheet.

The Government had argued that the charge of criminal conspiracy or irregularities against the accused were not sustainable.

Besides Thomas, Sports Authority of India Director General Jiji Thomson and former Civil Supplies Minister T H Musthaffa are among the eight accused in the case.

The case relates to alleged corruption in import of palmolein through a Singapore-based firm when Karunakaran was Chief Minister in 1992. Thomas was Civil Supplies Commissioner and Thomson the MD of the state Civil Supplies Corporation.

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