Ex-Kerala minister gets 1-year-jail

The Bench of Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan held the former minister guilty and set aside the acquittal order passed by the Kerala High Court.

In the judgment, the Bench said the corruption cases should be disposed on priority basis and within reasonable time.

“Though the issue was handled by a Special Court constituted for the sole purpose of finding out the truth or otherwise of the prosecution case, the fact remains it had taken nearly two decades to reach its finality.  

“We are of the view that when a matter of this nature is entrusted to a Special Court or a regular Court, it is but proper on the part of the court concerned to give priority to the same and conclude the trial within a reasonable time,” the Bench said.

The Bench further expressed its concern over all the cases relating to corruption by public servants normally taking longer time to reach their conclusion. It pointed out that in the present case, though the scandal took place in 1982, the prosecution was launched only in 1991.

The Bench allowed the prosecution plea that the former minister, who also formed the Kerala Congress (B), had entered into a criminal conspiracy to cause a loss of over Rs 2 crore to the Kerala State Electricity Board by awarding contracts for construction of a power tunnel and surge shaft of the Idamalayar hydro electricity power project to contractor Paulose (now deceased) at extraordinarily high rates.

The Bench also imposed Rs 10,000 fine on Pillai and two others in the appeal filed by the then Leader of the Opposition and present Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan.

The Bench said that the high court had committed a grave error by overlooking the clinching evidence marshalled by the prosecution and the conviction rightly awarded by the special court in Kerala. The Bench said there was clinching evidence to prove Pillai’s involvement in the award of the contract.

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