KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Monday closed further proceedings on the petition seeking a direction to the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau to initiate probe against Excise Minister K Babu, on allegations of bar bribery.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice A M Shaffique observed that further investigation in the case is yet to commence as directed by the Single Judge. It was not necessary for this court to entertain the Public Interest Litigation and issue any direction.
“When all the necessary steps, as per the Code of Criminal Procedure has to be exhausted, if the petitioner has any grievance, it is at liberty to file appropriate application before the Enquiry Commissioner and Special Judge, Thiruvananthapuram for necessary directions.” the court observed.
The court issued the order on a petition filed by Isaac Varghese of the kerala Anti-Corruption and Human Rights Protection Council. It is alleged in the petition that the preliminary inquiry conducted by the VACB was only an eyewash to protect the suspect Minister from the clutches of law and the witnesses who were questioned had already raised allegations against the Minister.
The Vigilance director had no authority to order a preliminary enquiry into a statement made by a witness under Section 164 of CrPC, in a pending vigilance case, through an officer outside the jurisdiction of the Vigilance Court, the petitioner stated. Meanwhile, the Bench also closed another petition filed by M Muthukrishnan of Karunagapally seeking a directive to the Vigilance department to consider and take a decision on the complaint against Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala and Excise Minister K Babu in bar bribe case.
The court asked the petitioner to approach the vigilance court for appropriate proceedings, as per law.