Kochi: A division bench of the Kerala High Court on Friday declared as null and void the observation made by a vigilance court against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and asked it to complete re-investigation into the palm oil import case in six weeks. The High Court bench asked for the removal of the observation made by Vigilance Judge P.K. Haneefa, who rejected the vigilance report that gave a clean chit to the Chief Minister and ordered a re-investigation. The high court had given a clean chit to Chandy in October.
The import of 15,000 tonnes of palm oil was undertaken in 1992. The case was registered in 1999 when the communists led by E.K. Nayanar were in power. The vigilance department had earlier submitted a report that there was nothing that could indict Chandy in the case. 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 oil from Malaysia at an enhanced price.
The High Court on Friday took up the case after Thompson approached it, stating that his career prospects have turned bleak because of the never-ending investigations. He asked the court to stop the re-investigation.
Another shot in the arm for Chandy came when the court did not allow Leader of Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan and former legislator K.J. Alphonse to implead in the case. The court said there was no reason for them to implead....