THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Vigilance Court here has made it clear that no prior sanction was needed to register cases against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala and Public Works Minister V K Ebrahim Kunju in a case pertaining to the alleged corruption in the implementation of a treatment plant at the Travancore Titanium Products Ltd.
Observing that the three were not ministers when the case was registered in 2006, Vigilance Special Judge John K Illikkadan said in his order, ‘’no sanction under Section 19(1) of the Prevention of Corruption Act would be necessary despite the fact that the three are now holding public offices.’’
Though public servants are given immunity as per Section 19(1) of the PC Act, the Court said that the three would not get the legal cover as per the verdicts of Supreme Court.
The apex court, in its verdicts, had held that if an accused person is a public servant who has ceased to be a public servant or is a public servant of different category then no sanction in terms of Section 19 (1) of the PC Act is necessary.
‘’In view of the decisions of the Supreme Court, it is clear that Section 19(1) of PC Act is time and offence related,’’ the Vigilance Court said in the order.
The Court on Thursday directed the Vigilance to register an FIR against the three ministers in the case. It had also directed the agency to go ahead with the investigation after quashing a preliminary inquiry report submitted by the Vigilance giving a clean chit to Chandy and other respondents in the case.
‘’From a perusal of the inquiry report, it can be seen that the inquiry officer had not conducted a full fledged inquiry regarding the alleged conspiracy hatched among the respondents in accepting the project submitted by M/s MECON,’’ Judge Illikadan said in the order.
He further said that it was necessary to examine former Health Minister K K Ramachandran who had alleged that he was removed from the ministry in 2005 after he objected to the corrupt deal.
Petitioners Sebastian George, G Sunil and Jayan had alleged gross misappropriation in the implementation of the project and in importing equipment for the power plant.
Former Principal Secretary and chairman of board of directors of TTPL, T Balakrishnan, former MD of Travancore Titanium Products Ltd Eapen Joseph, proprietor of Grintex Enterprises, Rajeevan, who acted as a middleman, former chief engineer and chief projects manager N Gangadharan, general manager of Mecon India Limited D K Basu, former Environment Minister A Sujanapal, M/S Chematur Ecoplanning Finland and Board of directors of Travancore Titanium Products Ltd. are the other respondents.
The case is regarding the alleged irregularities in implementing a Rs 256-crore waste treatment plant during the term of the UDF Government.