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HC bars arrest, probe of Chennithala in graft case

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HC bars arrest, probe of Chennithala in graft case
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Kochi: The High Court Tuesday ordered that state Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala should not be arrested or interrogated until further orders as part of investigation in a case pertaining to alleged corruption in implementation of an effluent treatment plant at a public sector company here in 2006.

The interim order was issued by Justice C U baid while considering a petition by Chennithala, seeking to quash proceedings against him and quash the order of Thiruvananthapuram Vigilance Court directing to register the crime and start investigations in the case.

The court, however, refused to stay the investigations in the case.

It said the investigation officer will have to think who all are to be arraigned as accused and who need not be.

The plea of Chennithala that he was not KPCC President during the relevant time needs to be considered by the investigating officer, court held.

The Vigilance Court had on Aug 28 ordered the Vigilance Director to register FIR against Chennithala, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, PWD Minister Irabhim Kunju and former Industries Secretary T Balakrishnan on a complaint filed by one Sebastian George of Kannur.

The case pertains to alleged irregularities in implementation of an effluent treatment plant at Travancore Titanium Products Ltd (TTP), one of Kerala's oldest public sector companies located on a beach near the state capital.

The issue had created a flutter in 2006 with the then Health Minister K K Ramachandran resigning. Ramachandran, a Congress leader, later alleged that he had been made a scapegoat by Chandy and others.

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