Thiruvananthapuram: The special prosecutor in the Palmoil import corruption case in Kerala stepped down on Thursday, saying he was not happy with the vigilance department's report in the case. P.A. Ahamed told reporters here he had no other option but to resign because he was not happy with the conclusion and observations made by the department. "I resign from the post," said Ahamed.
This comes after the vigilance department gave a clean chit last month to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy after probing whether he had any role in the 1992 import of Palmoil when he was the finance minister. The 90-page report prepared by investigating officer V.N.Sasidharan was submitted to the Thrissur Vigilance Court which is looking into the case. The court takes up the case on Feb 27.
Reacting to the twist in the case, Chandy said the prosecutor was appointed by the previous V.S. Achuthanandan government last year. "We really wanted this prosecutor to continue and his resignation is not one which was sought by this government," said Chandy.
In October last year, a division bench of the Kerala High Court declared as null and void the observation made by a vigilance court in the capital against Chandy and asked the department to complete the re-investigation into the Palmoil import case in six weeks.
The import of 15,000 tonnes of palm oil was undertaken in 1992. The case was registered in 1999. 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 by importing palm oil from Malaysia at an enhanced price.
State Minister in charge of Vigilance Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said till date the prosecutor had not come across any difficulty in the case because he has not let the government know about such a thing. "It remains to be seen if this resignation is part of a larger conspiracy. It is rather strange that he decided to step down like this," said Radhakrishnan.
Deputy Leader of Opposition Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, however, said it is a shame that such a thing had happened and Chandy should resign. "It's now clear that the re-investigation report was submitted without taking into confidence the prosecutor who has now resigned," said Balakrishnan.