Kerala seeks re-investigation of palm oil import case

Kerala seeks re-investigation of palm oil import case

As a special vigilance court here took up the discharge petition filed by Congress leader and then food minister T.H. Mustafa, public prosecutor P.A. Ahamed requested that the case be re-investigated in the light of the new revelations made by Mustafa.

In his petition Saturday, Mustafa said he should be heard because some people have twisted his discharge petition for political gain. The court will now hear the matter March 7.

Mustafa had earlier contended in his petition that he should be discharged in the case because the decision to import palm oil was a collective decision of the cabinet, which was taken to mean that he alone should not be targeted because the then finance minister and present leader of opposition Oommen Chandy was left out from the list of accused.

The import took place in 1992 and this became an issue then itself with the then Left opposition led by Achuthanandan raising this in the assembly.

A case was registered in 1999 when the Left was in power charging then chief minister K. Karunakaran, Mustafa, Thomas and another bureaucrat Jiji Thompson, among other, of criminal conspiracy causing a loss of Rs.2.32 crore to the state exchequer on account of importing 15,000 tonnes of palm oil from Malaysia at an enhanced price.

After Mustafa filed his discharge petition, the Left seized the opportunity to attack Chandy on the issue.

Chandy challenged the government to include him as an accused and re-investigate the case.

"I will welcome any decision by the court. This is a case that has been there since 1992 and the Left has been using it according to their needs. Now they want it as the state is going to the polls.

"Till the other day, the Left's contention in this case was that this deal was done without the knowledge of the finance minister and the second one was that this was a deal that was done by Karunakaran. Now today they are saying that I have a role, which means their original contention becomes weak. I have no worries, I will face it, let it come," Chandy told IANS.

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