SC rejects Achuthanandan’s plea in palmolein graft case

Top court observes no evidence against Kerala CM Chandy

By T K Devasia

Published: Tue 17 Feb 2015, 9:06 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 8:45 PM

Trivandrum — In a major relief to Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, the Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a petition filed by leader of opposition V S Achuthanandan, seeking to arraign him as an accused in the 22-year-old palmolein corruption case.

Dismissing the petition, a bench headed by Justice T.S. Thakur noted that there will not be any legal hurdle in listing Chandy as an accused in the case if any evidence is found against him during the trial in the case. The trial is pending in the vigilance court at Trichur.

The apex court had earlier pulled up Achuthanandan for dragging proceedings in the case to settle scores with political rivals. However, the court noted that its comments and the observations made by the high court while dismissing the state government’s plea to withdraw the case will not influence the trial. In response to the apex court observations, Achuthanandan had on Sunday submitted an explanation along with a fresh set of documents to support his charge that Chandy was involved in the 1992 deal to import 15,000 tonnes of palmolein from a firm in Malaysia as a finance minister.

The bench rejected the petitioner’s arguments saying there was no ground for its intervention in the case in the wake of the state government’s decision not to challenge the high court order. The case, which is related to alleged conspiracy in the import of Palmolein under the counter trade system/rupee clearance scheme that was in effect at the time, had rocked the state during the early 1990s.

The name of Chandy had not figured in the case when it was registered in 1999 by the then Left Democratic Front government. The last government led by Achuthanandan ordered a probe into his involvement in the deal after his name figured in a discharge petition filed by former food minister T H Mustafa, an accused in the case.

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