No merit in graft case against CVC Thomas: Chandy
Thiruvananthapuram: There is no merit in the corruption case against Chief Vigilance Commissioner PJ Thomas, whose continuance the Supreme Court has questioned, former Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy of the Congress said on Sunday.
The opposition in Parliament has been demanding Thomas' resignation as he has been chargesheeted in a palm oil import scam when he was Kerala's civil supplies secretary in 1992. At that time, Chandy was the finance minister.
"There is no merit in saying that there was corruption in this deal," said Chandy, leader of opposition in Kerala assembly.
The palm oil case was registered in 1999, accusing Thomas and others of a criminal conspiracy causing a loss of Rs 2.32 crore to the state exchequer.
They were accused of importing 15,000 tonnes of palm oil from Malaysia at an inflated price.
Speaking to a news agency, Chandy said in 1992 he was the finance minister and it was decided to import palm oil from Malaysia.
"At the time of price fixation, like in any international trade agreement, a fluctuation in dollar value took place. That's all that happened and there were two methods to fix the price and Kerala opted for one method and it is here that there was a difference of around Rs 2.32 crore (as compared to the other option)," he said.
"Had Kerala opted for a particular mode (for fixing the import price of palm oil) the state would have gained around Rs 2.32 crore. There was no corruption at all," said Chandy.
"At the same time, West Bengal also imported palm oil and the same thing had happened there but there was no case," said Chandy.
The Kerala government, in an affidavit filed in the apex court Thursday, said that the hearing in the corruption case has been postponed 24 times because of a stay order. The apex court would take up the case on Tuesday.
Thomas, who was the telecom secretary prior to becoming the CVC, has withdrawn himself from the ongoing probe into the allocation of spectrum to mobile companies that the Comptroller and Auditor General of India says caused a presumptive loss of Rs 1.76 crore to the exchequer. The scam also cost then telecom minister A Raja his job.