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Home KSEB High Court rejects Padmarajan’s plea on Brahmapuram scandal

High Court rejects Padmarajan’s plea on Brahmapuram scandal

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Kerala High CourtThe Kerala High Court declined to quash the final report filed by the state vigilance department against former power minister and Congress leader C V Padmarajan for irregularities in the Brahmapuram diesel power project case. The case is that the ten accused including the minister and the officials of the French company-M/s SEMT Pielstick conspired to escalate the prices of the diesel generators more than the price charged by the company for supplying similar sets to the Karnataka Electricity Board for Yelahanka project, and there by caused wrongful loss to the KSEB to the tune of Rs six crore and wrongful gains to the French company.

Justice V Ramkumar disallowed the prayer for quashing the final report and all further proceedings on the grounds that no offences are made out in the chargesheet, saying that it was too early to accept the grounds put forward in support of the same. The prayer for quashing the report on another ground - delay in investigation - was also disallowed.

The Court, however, quashed the cognisance taken in this case by the Inquiry Commissioner and Special Judge, (Vigilance Court), Thrissur, holding that it had no territorial jurisdiction to take cognisance of the offence or issue process to the accused, as the agreement was signed in France and the correspondence preceding the signing of the MoU took place at Thiruvananthapuram.

The Court of Inquiry Commissioner and Special Judge, Thiruvananthapuram alone had jurisdiction to take cognisance of the offence, the court held, as the court which is competent to try the offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act is the special judge within whose local limits the offence is committed.

The Vigilance Court Thrissur should, therefore, return the police report and the connected records for presentation before the Thiruvananthapuram Vigilance Court after complying with the legal formalities.

The court also held that the cognisance taken in police report and the issuance of summons to the 10 accused in the case under Section 204 of the Criminal Procedure Code being part of the “inquiry” without obtaining the previous sanction of the Central Government, were bad.

Under Section 188 of the Criminal Procedure Code, no offence committed outside India should be inquired into and tried in India except with the previous sanction of the Central Government. The special judge was acting without jurisdiction by holding an inquiry without prior sanction.

The Court, however, left it to the petitioners to raise the question of sanction for prosecution under Section 197 of the Code, before the trial court at the appropriate time.

The sanction for prosecution is provided as a protection against vexatious prosecution of public servants.

The overt acts of the accused and the circumstances under which it was committed can be considered in a better way only by the trial court and that too after the trial.

The court clarified that the accused persons will have the right to plead for a discharge.

Courtsey - Express News Service

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