CBI probe ordered into TN CM contracts

CBI probe ordered into TN CM contracts

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami. (PTI file photo)

In a serious embarrassment to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, the Madras High Court on Friday ordered a CBI probe into the DMK’s plea seeking registration of FIR with respect to “large-scale corruption” in awarding civil contracts by the Highways Department, a portfolio held by the chief minister.

Justice A D Jagadish Chandira gave a direction to the CBI to complete preliminary investigations into the case within three months. The order came three days after the Directorate of Anti-Corruption and Vigilance (DVAC) gave a clean chit to the chief minister in the case, saying there was no cognisable offence. 

READ: CBI summons two cops in TN gutkha scam

The direction came on a petition filed by the DMK seeking registration of the case against Palaniswami for “abusing his power” to allocate five highway laying and maintenance projects worth over Rs 3,500 crore to firms owned by his relatives and 'benamis'.

“Mr Palaniswami, being a government servant, had entered into a criminal conspiracy with his relatives and 'benamis' and thereby committed criminal misconduct and obtained undue pecuniary advantage for himself,” DMK Rajya Sabha MP R S Bharathi said in his petition.

He contended that since these offences attract punishment under the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act, a detailed probe has to be instituted. The court had asked the DVAC to launch a preliminary inquiry into the complaints and get back to it.

READ: Former TN top cop admits to gutkha scam

The high court ruling comes as yet another embarrassment to the AIADMK government, which wakes up to a new crisis every day. Already, deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam is facing a probe by the DVAC for possessing disproportionate assets and Health Minister C Vijayabhaskar is facing a CBI probe for his alleged role in multi-crore gutkha scam.