5 Sep 2023 5:29 AM GMT
A revision petition has been filed in the Kerala High Court against the dismissal of a complaint seeking investigation into the alleged bribery carried out by high ranking public officials of the State in connection with the mining and other business interests of the Cochin Minerals and Rutile Ltd (CMRL) by the Court of the Enquiry Commissioner and Special Judge (Vigilance), Muvattupuzha....
A revision petition has been filed in the Kerala High Court against the dismissal of a complaint seeking investigation into the alleged bribery carried out by high ranking public officials of the State in connection with the mining and other business interests of the Cochin Minerals and Rutile Ltd (CMRL) by the Court of the Enquiry Commissioner and Special Judge (Vigilance), Muvattupuzha.
The petitioner had accused Veena Thaikandiyil (Veena Vijayan), daughter of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan (2nd accused), and her company Exalogic Solutions Pvt. ltd. (1st and 7th accused respectively), of having received illegal consideration under the guise of her father.
Apart from the above, other public servants such as the leader of the Opposition and Congress MLA Ramesh Chennithala, MLA Kunhalikutty, former Minister for Public Works V.K. Ibrahim Kunju, and A. Govindan have also been named as other accused in the matter for having received illegal gratification; while CMRL, its Managing Director Sathivilas Narayan Kartha Sasidharan Kartha (9th accused), the Chief Financial Officer K.S. Suresh Kumar (10th accused), and the Chief General Manager of Finance and Company Secretary P. Suresh Kumar are alleged to have given out bribes for illegal gratification.
The Company had earlier received backlash with respect to illegal mining of ilmenite, which is expected to cause severe environmental impact.
The petitioner in his complaint stated that accused 1 to 7 had received bribes in order to obtain undue advantage in the business carried out by CMRL. The petitioner averred that the Income Tax Authorities had surfaced evidence revealing illicit relationship between the company officials and several politicians, particularly those arrayed as the accused herein.
According to the petitioner, CMRL's MD Kartha had also admitted that an amount of Rs. 40,46,29,271 consisting of inflated payments made to vendors which was received by them in cash was utilized for making payments to accused 1 to 7 and several others. The petitioner further states that even the CFO of the Company had deposed that the Company was receiving large number of threats and to overcome the same, illegal payments were made to various individuals and media houses.
"Hence, it is evident that such payments were made to accused 1 to 7 in order to obtain undue advantage in mining of Ilmenite, in return for illegal gratification in the form of money and thereby Accused 2 to 6 have misused their official position and also caused loss of public revenue. Moreover, due to their silence and non-action in return for the illegal consideration received by them, severe environmental problems arose in the state, especially thepollution of the Periyar River through the activities of Accused 8 to 12. Hence, the actions of the accused herein attract the offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 as they have misused their powers in exchange for monetary benefits," the petitioner states.
The petitioner further claims that Rs.3,00,000/- was given to 7th accused Company and Rs.5,00,000/- to the 1st accused Veena Vijayan who is the sole owner and Managing Director of the said Company, on a monthly basis based on an alleged agreement for giving software services, while there had not been any valid agreement executed in this regard between the 1st accused and 11th accused.
The petitioner adds that the verifications done at the corporate office and the factory revealed that no such services were being rendered by the 1st or 7th accused persons. The petitioner states that the Interim Settlement Board-II, Delhi had also termed such transaction as bogus.
The petitioner submits that it is possible that there may be unaccounted havala money involved in such transactions, and the same also requires to be investigated.
The petitioner claims that the accused persons had colluded, as a result of which the government had purchased shares of CMRL. The KSIDC also purchased shares in KMRL, as a result of which it would have been entitled for proportionate shares, but by giving bogus statement, CMRL limited the declared profit of the company by writing off huge sum of money as expense, which was also found by the Settlement Board, it is averred.
In addition, the 10th accused CFO Kumar had deposed in his statement before the authorities that the alleged payments had been made to the members of various political parties, temples, media houses, police, and so on, for smooth functioning of their business.
The Vigilance Court had dismissed his complaint on finding that there was no prima facie case, but only general allegations made.
"In this petition, apart from the general allegations made, complainant has not furnished any material facts which will show that respondents 2 to 6 had given any favors to 8" respondent in their capacity as public servants in return for the alleged payments. There is no case for the petitioner that any of the respondents had officially dealt with any matters pertaining to 8" respondent. Apart from making a general statement that the payments are bribery for consideration, the complaint does not disclose the material particulars which will show a prima facie case of commission of offences under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The Complaint also does not say which offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 is committed by respondents," the Court had observed while dismissing the Complaint.
It is challenging the above order that the petitioner has filed the present revision petition, on the ground that the trial court had failed to consider the facts and circumstances of the case, and had thereby passed an illegal and improper order.
The plea has been moved through Advocate B.A. Aloor.
Case Title: Gireesh Babu v. State of Kerala & Anr.