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SC's directive on Kerala CM's plea in alleged graft case

August 17, 2009 21:08 IST

The Supreme Court today directed Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan and the state government to produce before it "necessary material" relating to a case of alleged corruption involving former state Power Minister R Balakrishna Pillai of Congress.

The "necessary material" relates to certain depositions and documents that were produced earlier in a special court which had convicted Pillai in the corruption case. He was, however, subsequently was acquitted by the Kerala High Court.

A bench of Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam while passing the direction posted the matter for further hearing after four weeks on an application moved by the Chief Minister for early hearing of the appeal filed by him challenging Pillai's acquittal.

Achuthanandan, in his earlier capacity as Leader of the Opposition, had filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) challenging the acquittal after the then Congress government did not challenge the acquittal.

Balakrishna Pillai was held guilty of corruption with regard to irregularities in the construction of a hydro-electric project.

In the plea, Achuthanandan pointed out that a special vigilance court in Kerala had found Pillai guilty in the corruption case and the people would lose faith in the judiciary if a delay occurred in pronouncing the verdict.

Pillai and former Electricity Board chairman Ramabhadran Nair and the contractor were sentenced to five years' rigorous imprisonment by a special court in the case relating to the award of the contract for a tunnel in the Edamalayar dam in 1999.

However, the High Court had quashed the verdict in 2003, holding that the case was the result of political vendetta.

 But Achuthanandan, the then Opposition leader, filed a SLP in the Supreme Court against the High Court verdict.

Though the court had earlier issued notices to Kerala government, Pillai and other accused, the preliminary hearing is yet begin even after nearly five years of filing of SLP.

In the plea, Achuthanandan had ponted out that he was 86 years old and considering his age, the case hearing should begin without further delay. He alleged the case against Pillai is one of criminal conspiracy.

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