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Vigilance probe clears Chandy in palmolein case

In a relief to Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, a vigilance probe has found he had no role in the palmolein import corruption case.

Thrissur (Ker): A vigilance probe on Saturday gave a
clean chit to Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy holding
there was no ground to list him as an accused in the palmolein
import corruption case in the 1990s when he was finance
minister in the then UDF ministry, headed by late Congress
veteran K Karunakaran.

The further investigation report submitted to the court by
Superintendent of Police,Vigilance and Anti-corruption Bureau,
V N Sasidharan, said there was no evidence at all to include
Chandy as an accused in the case.

The facts, evidences and circumstances of the case in the
probe showed Chandy had not committed any illegal acts or
omissions as the then finance minister, said the report, which
was submitted before the Inquiry Commissioner and special
judge (vigilance) here.

Though Chandy was never an accused in the case, his name
figured following a discharge petition filed by former food
minister TH Mustaffa last year.

Mustaffa, second accused in the case, had pleaded that
justice given to Chandy by not making him an accused in the
case should also be given to him (Mustaffa).

Seizing on the development, the previous CPI(M) led-LDF
government had filed a petition, seeking a further probe,
stating that more persons were likely to become accused.

The long-pending corruption case, in which Karunakaran was
first accused, had cost PJ Thomas the post of Central
Vigilance Commissioner. Thomas was listed as sixth accused in
the case,relating to import of 32,000 tonnes of palmolein from
Malaysia, causing a loss of Rs 2.32 crore to the exchequer.

A vigilance judge hearing the case had some months back
recused himself from the case after he was accused of
political bias by Government chief whip PC George.

The probe report filed on Saturday said materials in the file
relating to the import revealed that Chandy as finance
minister saw the file for the first and last time only on Nov
27, 1991, just before the cabinet meeting.

It has been a custom that the prime minister inaugurates
the event and the president addresses the valedictory session.

President Pratibha Patil will address the closing
ceremony of the event on Monday and confer awards on NRIs and
PIOs who have excelled in various fields.

Mukherjee will deliver his key note address at the
session on `Inclusive Growth: Two Decades of Economic
Liberalisation` tomorrow which will be addressed by Transport
Minister CP Joshi and Environment Minister Jayanti Natarajan.

Besides discussions on economy and investments, this
year`s conference is also expected to deliberate on the ways
to engage the young diaspora community in the country`s growth
and also creating awareness among them about the rich and
diverse culture of India.

The theme of this year`s conference is `Global Indian -
Inclusive Growth` and over 10 Union ministers including
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will address the delegates
during which they are expected to throw light on the country`s
growth and seek further investments from the diaspora.

Ravi said another main thrust of the event is to find
ways and means on how to make the younger generation of
Persons of Indian Origin to understand about India.

Besides Union ministers, over 10 chief ministers of
various states and Sam Pitroda, Adviser to Prime Minister on
Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations, will chair
several sessions on various topics tomorrow and Monday.

The city is all decked up to welcome the dignitaries and
is dotted with banners and posters of the event.

Security has been beefed up across Jaipur and
neighbouring areas in view of the visit of President Patil and
Prime Minister Singh.

Cultural programmes showcasing the rich cultural heritage
of India in general and Rajasthan in particular.