KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday dismissed the petition filed by SNDP Yogam general secretary Vellappally Natesan seeking to quash the FIR against him in the microfinance case. The HC directed the state government to entrust the probe to an officer not below the rank of superintendent of police.
The court also directed the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) to expand the probe across the state, and held that sufficient manpower and facilities should be given to the team to conduct an effective investigation.
The court issued the order on the petitions filed by Vellappally, SNDP Yogam president M N Soman and SNDP Yogam microfinance co-ordinator K K Mahesan who are the first, second and third accused in the case, respectively. The court directed the VACB to complete the probe within eight months.
The VACB had registered an FIR against the accused based on a complaint filed by former Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan alleging irregularities in the utilisation of funds secured from the Kerala State Backward Classes Development Corporation (KSBCDC) for microfinance operations.
From the quick verification report, it was revealed that the SNDP Yogam had received Rs 15.85 crore from the KSBCDC for disbursing loans to the poor among backward classes in self-help groups (SHGs) in 2003-14. The availed funds were misappropriated and misutilised, the VACB had stated in an affidavit filed before the court.