Palm oil case can go ahead, rules Kerala HC

Posted on 9th Jan 2015 12:00 pm by mohit kumar

Kochi, Jan 8 (IANS) The Kerala government's request to withdraw the palm oil import case that happened in 1992 was turned down by a bench of the high court here Thursday.

The state government approached the high court with a review petition after the Thrissur Vigilance Court in January 2014 turned down the request of the government to withdraw the case.

The state government's contention is that there was no corruption involved in the case and since this has been in courts for more than two decades, the future of government officials who were accused in the case, is being affected.

Not a single probe agency has till date said that either political personalities or officials named in the case have committed a crime, Congress legislator P.C. Vishnunath told IANS.

The import of 15,000 tonnes of palm oil was undertaken by the Kerala government in 1992.

The case was registered in 1999 when the Communists, led by E.K. Nayanar, were in power.

Former chief minister K. Karunakaran, then food minister T.H. Mustafa and bureaucrats P.J. Thomas and Jiji Thompson were charged with causing a loss of Rs.2.32 crore to the state exchequer by importing oil from Malaysia at an enhanced price.

Thomas had to step down as the central vigilance commissioner and Thompson's promotion prospects hit a dead-end on account of the inordinate delay in the case.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy was the finance minister when the oil was imported and he was listed as a witness in the case.

"Cases like this will affect the morale of officials," said Vishnunath.

Senior CPI-M legislator Thomas Issac said this verdict is a blow to Chandy.

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