Palmolein case takes political turn as polls are close

Last Updated: Saturday, February 26, 2011 - 12:53

Thiruvananthapuram: :In a new development in the
palmolein import graft case, Kerala`s LDF Government on Saturday
filed a petition seeking further probe holding that some more
persons were likely to become accused in the case, seen an
apparent move to drag in Congress leader Oommen Chandy in the
case.

The petition filed in the Special Vigilance Court hearing
the case, in which Central Vigilance Commissioner P J Thomas
is also an accused; the government said the investigation
agency proposed to conduct further probe in the matter
regarding the involvement of other persons, who were likely
to become accused in the case.

The name of Chandy, who was finance minister in the UDF
ministry headed by late K Karunakaran which cleared the deal
in 1992, came up in connection with a discharge petition
filed by the then food minister T H Mustaffa, the second
accused in the case.

In his petition, Mustaffa held that it was fair to have
spared Chandy in the case but the same yardstick of fairness
had not been not applied in his case.

Mustaffa had said in his petition that the prosecution
rightly did not find fault with Chandy but unjustly arraigned
him as an accused.

Mustaffa`s counsel, however, opposed the government petition
saying that the contents of his discharge petition was
willfully distorted and misused for political gains.

The Judge S Jagadeesh posted the hearing on the petition
for March 7.

Seizing on Mustaffa`s petition, the LDF Government has of
late made veiled threats of arraigning Chandy, a chief
ministerial contender of the UDF, as an accused in the case.

The case related alleged corruption in importing palmolein
from Malaysia, which allegedly caused a loss to the tune of
Rs 2.32 core in 1991-92 when late congress leader
K Karunakaran was the chief minister and P J Thomas the Food
Secretary and a member of the Board of the Kerala State Civil
Supplies Corporation.

Thomas has been listed as the eighth accused in the
charge sheet filed by the Vigilance and Anti-corruption Bureau
in 2003.

According to the chargesheet, filed under the Prevention of
Corruption Act and the Indian Panel Code, the caused accused
the exchequer a loss of Rs 2.32 crore by importing palmolein
through a Malaysia based firm at exorbitant rates.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, February 26, 2011 - 12:53

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