Thiruvananthapuram: The recent High Court order rejecting UDF Government's plea to wind up the two-decade-old palmolein case is unlikely to come in the way of senior civil servant Jiji Thomson, who figures as an accused in the case, becoming the next State Chief Secretary.
Making this clear, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Wednesday said the government would go ahead with the plan to post Thomson as chief secretary on retirement of Bharat Bhushan shortly.
In what has been dubbed as a setback to the Government, the court last week turned down its plea to withdraw the case.
"There is no reason for the government to go back on its proposal to make Thomson as chief secretary when the post falls vacant," Chandy said.
He recalled that former Central Vigilance Commissioner P J Thomas, who also figures as an accused in the case, was made chief secretary when LDF Government was in power. Thomson had earlier this month returned to his home cadre after several years of central deputation when his assignments included director of Sports Authority of India.
Seizing on the High Court order, Opposition Leader and CPI-M veteran V S Achuthanandan had asked the government to give up its plan to elevate Thomson as chief secretary. The court on January 8 had declined to accept government's plea to withdraw prosecution in the 23-year-old palmolein import scam case in which names of some politicians and bureaucrats have cropped up, holding that such a move would only help the accused 'personally or otherwise'.
The case related to import of palmolein during 1991-92 at 'inflated' price by the then Congress Government headed by late K Karunakaran from a Malaysian firm allegedly causing a loss of Rs 2.33 crore to the state exchequer. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy was the Finance Minister then.