Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Tuesday gave up the vigilance portfolio after a court ordered a fresh probe into his role in the palm oil import case of 1992 when he was the state finance minister.
"I have handed the vigilance portfolio to Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan (the revenue minister)," Chandy told reporters.
"I have the highest regard for the judiciary and it remains the same irrespective of the outcome of the verdict," he added.
Special Vigilance Court judge PK Haneefa Monday ordered the state vigilance department to re-investigation the case.
The case was registered in 1999 when the Communists led by EK Nayanar were in power. The vigilance department had earlier submitted a report stating that there was nothing that could indict Chandy in the case.
Former chief minister K Karunakaran, then food minister TH Mustafa and bureaucrats PJ Thomas and Jiji Thompson were charged with causing a loss of Rs 2.32 crore by importing oil from Malaysia at an enhanced price.
The case was reopened earlier this year by the Left government under VS Achuthanandan after Mustafa asked the court that he also be allowed to go free as Chandy has not been named in the case.
The state government ordered a hurried investigation and the vigilance department submitted the report giving a clean chit to Chandy May 13 -- the day the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) won the Assembly polls.