The Kerala High Court on Thursday questioned the Central Government on the delay in issuing of order for a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into alleged irregularities in the award of tenders to Reliance Communications by the previous government for operating State Data Centre (SDC) and three network operating centres under the State Information Infrastructure.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice A M Shaffique also directed the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension to file a statement explaining its stand on the case without any delay.
Counsel for the CBI sought time for making the submission regarding taking over of the case.
However, Assistant Solicitor General submitted that the Department of Personnel and Training is the authority concerned to issue a notification and the CBI will take over the case once the department issues a special notification.
The Assistant Solicitor General also took the notice for the Centre and sought time to get instruction.
Based on this, the Bench adjourned the hearing of the case to February 17.
The court issued the directive when a petition filed by Jomon Puthenpurackal challenging the unreasonable delay on the part of the Central Government in taking action on the state’s notification to entrust the case with the CBI.
The Kerala High Court had disposed of a petition by Chief Whip P C George seeking a CBI probe in the case after recording the submission of the state that it had decided to hand over the case to the central agency.
The SDC case is suspected to be linked with the alleged amassment of wealth by controversial industrialist T G Nandakumar, the state had informed.
Later, Nandakumar approached the Supreme Court, but his plea was dismissed. Even after three months from the date of state’s notification, the Central Government is unnecessarily delaying the issuance of special notification for the investigation by the CBI, counsel for the petitioner Nagaraj Narayanan submitted.
The Centre and the CBI are not taking any further steps due to the tremendous pressure exerted on them by influential people involved in the case, the petitioner alleged.