New Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday
allowed the Kerala government to go ahead with the trial in
the multi-crore palmolein oil scam involving Chief Vigilance
Commissioner P J Thomas and then chief minister K Karunakaran.
A bench of justices Aftab Alam and R M Lodha gave the
green signal after treating Karunakaran`s appeal as "abated"
in view of his death on December 23 last year.
The Kerala government had earlier moved the apex court
seeking vacation of its stay on the trial in the palmolein oil
import case in which Thomas is an accused.
The Supreme Court had on August 3, 2007, stayed
proceedings in the case before a designated CBI court in
Kerala. There were eight accused in the Palmolein import case.
The chargesheet in the case was filed in 2000 against
Karunakaran and seven senior state government officials,
including Thomas, who was then Kerala Food Secretary.
The then Chief Secretary of the state, besides
Additional secretary and Kerala State Civil Supplies
Corporation`s Managing Director G G Thomas are also named as
an accused in the FIR.
The case pertains to the import of palm oil from a
Singapore firm, which was allegedly done at prices higher than
the international rate.
The Karunakaran cabinet had approved the import of
15,000 tonnes of palm oil at a rate of USD 405 per tonne
whereas the market price was USD 392.25 per tonne.
As Secretary, Food and Civil Supplies, Thomas had
issued the government order for the import which caused a loss
of Rs 2.32 crore to the state exchequer.
In November 2005, the state government had decided to
move the trial court to withdraw the prosecution against
In 2006, it, however, cancelled its decision for
withdrawing his prosecution stating that there was no such
intention and favoured going ahead with criminal proceedings
against all the eight accused including Thomas.