March 31 2020
‘No graft case made out against CM’
13 September 2018

Marriage between parties no reason to book case: AG

The Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption on Wednesday told the Madras High Court that a complaint by DMK organising secretary R.S. Bharathi “does not show, on the face of it, a prima facie case of cognisable offence” for the registration of an FIR against Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami.

Appearing before Justice A.D. Jagadish Chandira, Advocate General Vijay Narayan said the Chief Minister’s son P. Mithun got married only in 2014 whereas his in-laws were in the business of laying roads since the 1990s. They had obtained contracts from successive governments, including the period when the DMK ruled the State, and therefore, could not be prevented all of a sudden, he said.

Opposing the DMK leader’s plea to book a case against the CM, the AG said the petitioner could not level allegations and expect them to culminate in the registration of an FIR, especially when the DVAC had already conducted a thorough preliminary inquiry.

Asserting that no cognisable offence had been made out, he said: “A marriage between two parties is not a cognisable offence. Awarding contracts is not a cognisable offence.”

He went on to add that the petitioner’s plea had actually become infructuous since the DVAC had completed its preliminary inquiry and submitted a report to its Director (an officer in the rank of Additional Director General of Police) as well as the Vigilance Commissioner (a post held by a senior Indian Administrative Service officer) on August 28. Now, it was up to those two officials to take a call on further course of action.

If the officials were satisfied with the report, they may accept it and drop further action. On the other hand, if they disagree with the conclusions arrived at by the investigating officer, they may send the report back with a direction to conduct a fresh inquiry, the AG said and submitted a copy of the report in a sealed cover. However, the judge chose not to open it and directed the High Court Registry to keep it in safe custody.

He, instead, directed the DVAC to file a status report, also in a sealed cover, by Monday listing out the steps taken by it on a day- to-day basis between June 13 and August 28. The direction was issued after the AG said that even if the two officials decide to drop further action, the petitioner would not be without any remedy and that he could pursue any course that was available to him under the criminal law.

In his submissions, senior counsel N.R. Elango, representing the petitioner, wondered how the preliminary inquiry could have been completed by the DVAC without even obtaining a statement from the complainant. “How can I expect this agency to come and say, yes our CM is guilty of corruption? That is the reason I have now sought for a court monitored probe by a special investigation team on my complaint,” he said.



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