THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau (VACB) will have to reveal the details of preliminary inquiry it held against former chairman of Kerala State Cashew Development Corporation R Chandrasekharan in connection with the purchase of low quality raw cashew, said petitioner Kadakampally Manoj.
A Vigilance court here, on Saturday, asked the prosecution to furnish a detailed report on the inquiry along with the High Court order asking the CBI to probe the alleged corruption in the Corporation.
Manoj sought the details of the quick verification report using the Right To Information Act. But it was denied. “I filed an RTI on January 8, 2016 and VACB denied my request using a new circular effective from January 27 which puts such reports in the secret section. My appeal was turned down a few days ago,” said Manoj. He alleged Chandrasekharan’s hold at the top level in the Home Ministry was behind the delay.
According to Manoj, his complaint with VACB was specific on the misuse of money in the purchase of low quality cashew during 2015 and the High Court ruling was against corruption in KSCDC till 2013. The CBI has not included the corruption case during the Onam season last year, he said.VACB officials in Kollam submitted three reports so far recommending detailed inquiry against the former chairman of KSCDC, R Chandrasekharan and former managing director K A Ratheesh.
However, no further action in the form of first information report was taken in violation of Supreme Court guidelines. Supreme Court (Lalita Kumari vs Government of Uttar Pradesh and Others, 2013) issued guidelines that an FIR must be registered against cognisable offence immediately after a complaint is filed. It has been more than 180 days since he filed the complaint.
The Corporation received `30 crore after pressurising the government through a one-day hunger strike by Chandrasekharan. Kadakampally Manoj had complained that of the `30 crore it received, the Corporation spent `24.40 crore on buying raw cashew of inferior quality from JMJ Traders, the lone bidder. The import of local nuts were done at a high rate of `117.01 a kg whereas the private companies managed to get nut of better quality in the price range of `102 to `106 a kg. However, VACB could not find a stock purchase record that shows the quality, country of origin of raw nuts. According to Manoj’s complaint the workers protested when they found that the nuts were of low quality. The outturn was as low as `14 to `17 a kg for a sack (80 kg) of cashew.
Various reports found that JMJ Traders received 29 orders of raw cashew procurement from the Corporation and it benefited `608.93 crore between 2008 and 2013.
Even though the controversial bidder violated the Committee of Public Undertaking (COPU) and that of Expert Committee, it continued to enjoy the patronage of the management, said Manoj.