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Palmolein import case: HC dismisses govt's plea

Palmolein import case: HC dismisses govts plea

Kochi: The High Court Thursday dismissed a petition filed by the state government seeking to withdraw prosecution in the corruption case relating to palmolein import during 1991-92.

Rejecting the government's revision petition, Justice P Ubaid, in a 62-page judgement, held that "withdrawal from prosecution will not serve any public interest and no public good was going to be achieved by such withdrawal. Such withdrawal will only help the accused personally or otherwise.”

The court also rejected the plea of senior IAS officer Jiji Thomson seeking to discharge himself from the case.

State's Legal Advisor, who made application for withdrawal, "was not acting in good faith. Application by him will not satisfy the court", the judge held.

"The decision to withdraw from prosecution will not help the society or serve any public interest. Such withdrawal may have the affect of thwarting or stifling the process of law," the court observed.

This is a case where public has also some concern in view of the allegations of corruption against ministers and bureaucrats, it said.

The court also allowed opposition leader in the Assembly V S Achutanandan and CPI MLA V S Sunil Kumar to implead in the case.

The case relates to alleged irregularities in the import of palmolein from a Malaysian company in Singapore by the then K Karunakaran-led UDF government in 1991-92. The government had decided to import palmolein above the international price. The decision was to import about 15,000 tonnes.

The opposition had raised a hue and cry and a vigilance case was filed against Karunakaran and seven others, including Jiji Thomson, who was the former Managing Director of Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation and is tipped to be the next Chief Secretary of Kerala.

Former Chief Vigilance Commissioner P J Thomas, then Food and Civil Supplies Secretary of the state when the scam broke, who is another accused in the case, had to resign in 2011 on the grounds that he had a corruption case pending against him.

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