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Palmolein case: Kerala HC stays order to probe Chandy's role

September 27, 2011 17:19 IST
The Kerala high court on Tuesday stayed a lower court order directing investigation into the role of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in the 1992 palmolein import case. Chandy was the finance minister in the K Karunakaran cabinet when the deal was inked.

The interim order was issued by Justice K T Sankaran on a petition filed by senior Indian Administrative Service officer Jiji Thomson, who is the fifth accused in the case, seeking to quash the order of the Thiruvananthapuram vigilance special court.

Thomson, a former Kerala civil supplies MD, had complained of 'untold harassment' and 'mental agony' in the Palmolein case and submitted that the special judge had no power to order further investigation suo motu. He had also raised an apprehension that "if the process is accepted, investigation will be an endless process".

Thomson, secretary general of the Commonwealth Games, said he was not given a posting as additional secretary or equivalent only due to prolonged pendency of the palmolein case while all other officials similarly placed have been promoted. The case has been posted to October 17.

On August 8, special vigilance judge P K Haneefa had directed investigation against Chandy after rejecting the report filed by investigators three months ago that there was no ground for any further probe in the case. He recused himself from hearing the case on September 24 saying there was "some personal attack" against him.

Earlier, another bench had refused to hear the case. The case pertains to import of 32,000 tonnes of palmolein from Malaysia, allegedly causing a loss of Rs 2.32 crore to the state exchequer.

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