The Vigilance and Special Enquiry Court in Thrissur on Friday rejected the petition of Kerala government seeking withdrawal of the corruption case related to the import of palmolein in 1992. The case had hogged headlines three years back after one of the accused and Kerala-cadre IAS officer P J Thomas was made the Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC).
Judge K Haripal said the government plea to drop the case was against public interest and trial against the seven alleged accused would continue. The court rapped the additional legal advisor, who appeared for the government, saying the public prosecutor had not applied his mind while filing the petition. Earlier, the court had rejected the discharge petitions of senior IAS officer Giji Thomson and Congress leader T H Musthafa. Late Congress leader K Kar-unakaran, the then CM, was one of the accused. As per the prosecution case, the state had lost Rs 2.32 crore in the import of palmolein from Malasia.
The Congress government had decided to withdraw the case in last September. However, Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan had petitioned the court against the government decision. In fact, the previous Congress government in 2005 had taken a similar decision, but the succeeding LDF government reviewed the decision and went ahead with the prosecution.
In 2010, P J Thomas was forced to quit as CVC as the case revisited him after the BJP protested against the appointment. In 2011, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had abandoned the vigilance portfolio after a court ordered the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau to ascertain whether Chandy as finance minister in 1991 had any role in the corruption case.
Reacting to the setback, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala said the government would go for an appeal against the verdict.