New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday discharged former Kerala Chief Secretary R Ramachandra Nair of
corruption charges in setting up of the country`s first
Sanskrit University at Kalodi in Kerala`s Ernakulam district,
the birthplace of Adi Shankaracharya.
A bench of Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan
rejected allegations that Nair had caused a pecuniary loss of
over Rs 50 lakh in award of contracts for filling up the water
logged 42.5 acres of land acquired by the Kerala government on
behalf of the university in 1990.
The apex court also wondered why the state vigilance
department chose to file the FIR and chargesheet
eight-and-a-half years after the alleged offence, despite the
fact that the government itself recommended dropping of the
charges since Nair had acted in good faith.
"It is not clear why the prosecution has waited for
nearly eight-and-half-years to file the charge-sheet or waited
until the death of the contractor and until the Assistant
Executive Engineer who prepared the quotation for the work and
in-charge of the work got promoted as Executive Engineer and
then as Superintending Engineer and retired from service on
superannuation and left the country for working in UAE before
filing the chargesheet in the court.
"It is not clear, in spite of such decision at the
highest level, namely, Chief Secretary to government, no
follow up action was taken before the concerned courts seeking
permission to withdraw the criminal proceedings pending
against the appellant.
"In terms of Section 114 of the Evidence Act, 1872
this court may legitimately draw a presumption that the
government had taken a conscious decision exonerating the
appellant even in 2006 and there is no reason to doubt the
integrity of the appellant," Justice Sathasivam said.
Nair, incidentally, was the first vice chancellor of
the University between January 1, 1994 to June 30, 1996.
Cases were registered against Nair and four other
persons under Section 13(2) read with Section 13(1)(d) of the
Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and Sections 120-B and 463
IPC only in 2005.
On June 30,6.2005, a charge-sheet was filed in the
Court of the Enquiry Commissioner and Special Judge, Thrissur
with a delay of eight and a half years after the FIR and
without obtaining the previous sanction of the Syndicate of
the University under Section 50(2) of the Sree Sankaracharya
University of Sanskrit Act, 1994.
In the FIR, the pecuniary loss caused to the
University was indicated as Rs 59,51,543 whereas in the
charge-sheet it was mentioned Rs 2,68,358.