SC rejects Achuthanandan’s plea in palmolein import scam case

SansadTV Bureau

Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a plea of former Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan in a graft case relating to import of palmolein oil in 1991 by then Congress-led state government and asked him to place relevant materials before the trial court.

“We think the allegation that you (Achuthanandan) want to drag the case to get political mileage is not without any basis,” a bench of justices T S Thakur and Adarsh Kumar Goel said while dismissing the plea of the veteran CPI(M) leader.

The bench, however, said the leader could place all the relevant materials before the trial court which would consider them without being influenced by the observations made by the apex court in the case.

Senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Achuthanandan, said Congress leader Oommen Chandy was the state finance minister at the relevant time and he was not been named in the charge sheet and even fresh probe gave him the clean chit.

“Now a charge sheet has been filed excluding the then Finance Minister. We are not getting into the merits of the charge sheet. The trial court will certainly take action if any incriminating facts come before it. You can also point out to the court if something comes out,” the bench said.

Earlier, the court had come down heavily on Achuthanandan saying he was “trying to drag on proceedings” in the graft case to settle “political score”.

The CPI(M) leader had said the Kerala High Court had disallowed his plea for further probe into the 23-year-old palmolein import scam case, in which names of some politicians and bureaucrats have cropped up.

The scam had taken place during the stint of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy as the state finance minister. The case relates to import of palm oil at inflated price by Kerala government from a Malaysia-based company between October 4, 1991 and April 1992 causing a loss of Rs 2.33 crore to the state exchequer.

The counsel for Kerala, however, had told the court that further probe has already been conducted and a final report has been filed against the current Chief Minister.

A protest petition was also filed before the trial court against the closure report, he said.

Earlier the apex court had asked the High Court to expeditiously decided on the state government’s plea seeking to withdraw the palmolein import scam case.