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Plea against appointing Jiji Thomson as Chief Secretary

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Plea against appointing Jiji Thomson as Chief Secretary
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Kochi: A petition seeking an interim direction to the state government not to appoint senior IAS officer Jiji Thomson, an accused in palmoelin import case, as Chief Secretary was filed in the High Court Tuesday.

The petitioner, Sudhakaran, a CPI-M worker, also sought a direction to the state and central governments to decide on prosecution sanction of Jiji Thomson and to consider disciplinary action against him.

According to the petitioner, Jiji Thomson, the then Civil Supplies Corporation Managing Director, was the 'master brain' in the deal.

By filing final report, Vigilance officials "colluded" with Thomson and a "feeble" charge was filed, the petitioner alleged.

The High Court had on January 8 declined to accept the state's plea to withdraw prosecution in the corruption case relating to palmolein import, holding that such a move would only help the accused 'personally or otherwise.

The court had also turned down Jiji Thomson's plea to quash proceedings against him.

The case relates to alleged irreregularities in the import of palmolein by the Congress government headed by late K Karunakaran in 1991-92. About 15,000 tonnes of palmolein was imported at a price higher than the prevailing rate.

A Vigilance case was filed against Karunakaran and 7 others, including former minister T H Mustaffa. Former Central Vigilance Commissioner P J Thomas who had to quit on the ground that he had a corruption case pending against him, former Chief Secretary S Padmakumar and former Additional Chief Secretary Zacharia mathew are among the accused.

The vigilance court had earlier given a clean chit to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who was the Fnance Minister in the Karunakaran cabinet, citing no material evidence suggesting his involvement in the case.

The government had decided to withdraw the case, holding that it had not caused any loss to the exchequer nor had anyone made any unlawful gain from it.

The case had marred the careers of 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.

The case is likely to come up Wednesday.

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