Court rejects clean chit for Chandy

Court rejects clean chit for Chandy

A special vigilance court here on Monday rejected a probe report by the vigilance department giving a clean chit to Chandy, who was finance minister when the import decision was taken.

Following this, Chandy expressed his intention to resign on moral grounds after Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan and others raised the demand again. However, UDF leaders and Defence Minister A K Antony prevailed on Chandy to refrain from taking any drastic step.

The case involved a Rs 2.32 crore loss sustained by the state in the import of palmolein from Malaysia by the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation, a public sector undertaking, in 1992.  K Karunakaran was first accused while several bureaucrats, including P J Thomas, who had to quit as chief vigilance commissioner, were co-accused.

The vigilance court based its judgment on three aspects. Chandy who was then finance minister had endorsed the suggestion from the then food minister to include palmolein import as a special item at the Cabinet meeting. The file regarding the import was in Chandy’s office for about 45 days and he knew about the levy of a 15 per cent service charge too.

The report submitted by the vigilance department in the court had claimed that since Chandy had no role in the deal, he could not be included as an accused in the case. There had been no new additions of accused or any fresh revelations in the reinvestigation conducted by the department. It said the case against second accused T H Mustafa, the then food minister, could continue.

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