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High Court mulls fresh probe by independent agency against Minister S.P. Velumani

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Allegations pertain to ‘irregularities in award of civil works to private firms’.

The Madras High Court is mulling over the opportunity of ordering a fresh preliminary inquiry by an “independent agency” into allegations of largescale irregularities by Municipal Administration and Rural Development Minister S.P. Velumani in award of a number of civil work contracts to personal companies by the Greater Chennai and Coimbatore municipal firms.

Justices M.M. Sundresh and R. Hemalatha stated they could order a fresh probe by an independent agency in the event that they weren’t happy with the preliminary inquiry carried out by the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC), which had filed an elaborate report, operating to a whole lot of pages, discovering no materials to proceed against the Minister.

The judges requested advocates V. Suresh and E. Raj Thilak, representing the complainants Jayaram Venkatesan of NGO Arappor Iyakkam and DMK MP R.S. Bharathi respectively, to make their submissions on the opportunity of transferring the identical complaints, which they’d lodged with the DVAC in 2018, to the “independent agency” for a fresh preliminary probe.

The Bench additionally requested the legal professionals to enlighten the court docket on Monday as as to if the independent agency also needs to be made as one of many respondents within the current batch of instances pending earlier than the court docket.

Direction sought

The complainants needed a path to the DVAC to register a First Information Report (FIR) against the Minister after which conduct a full-fledged investigation.

Their advocates instructed the court docket that if it was dissatisfied with the DVAC’s preliminary inquiry report, the perfect course could be to order registration of FIR after which switch the case to an independent agency, such because the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

However, the judges differed and stated they could as a substitute order one other preliminary inquiry by an independent agency.

Dealing with the difficulty earlier, one other Bench led by Justice M. Sathyanarayanan had appointed Superintendent of Police R. Ponni of the DVAC to conduct the preliminary inquiry. Accordingly, the officer carried out an in depth probe and filed a report back to DVAC Director Vijay Kumar on December 18, 2019, stating that no case had been made out for registration of FIR.

The inquiry report was permitted by the Director and forwarded to the Vigilance Commissioner on January 13 this yr. The Vigilance Commissioner, too, endorsed the report on January 18 and moved it to the federal government, which accepted the report on January 22 and dropped all additional proceedings on the complaints lodged against the Minister.



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