Kerala Court Dismisses Corruption Complaint Against CM Pinarayi Vijayan

CM Pinarayi Vijayan

A Kerala Court has rejected a complaint alleging corruption by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and various officials back in 2019 regarding a government order permitting the removal of sand from the Thottappally coastal area in Alappuzha district.

Enquiry Commissioner and Special Judge, Kottayam, M Manoj dismissed the complaint stating that none of the offenses alleged against the CM and others in the complaint were disclosed under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the IPC.

“The averments in the complaint do not disclose any offense under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, or under any other law. The complicity of the respondents in any of the alleged offenses is not prima facie made out and disclosed as per the averments in the complaint,” the judge said.

The complaint was filed by the President of the Karimanal Khanana Virudha Ekopana Samithi alleging that atomic mineral sand extracted from Thottappally coastal area in the name of Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd (KMML) was illegally supplied to the Cochin Minerals and Rutile Ltd (CMRL).

The complaint sought a vigilance inquiry or probe and claimed that due to the alleged illegal mineral sand mining, the state suffered a loss of over Rs 2,841 crore.

It further alleged that the government order (GO) permitting KMML to mine the sand was issued based on instructions from the Chief Minister’s Office.

Rejecting the allegations, the court stated that the government order under challenge was issued in May 2019, following the great floods in the state in 2018, in the public interest and to save lives and property from flood situations.

“On consideration of the averments in the complaint and materials produced by the complainant, it is found that there is no material to link CMRL to the issuance of the impugned GO passed to mitigate the flood situation in Kuttanad, the excavation of atomic mineral sand by the KMML pursuant to the said order, and the alleged siphoning off of the mineral sand to CMRL. Thus, there is no material produced by the complainant which prima facie discloses that the atomic mineral sand excavated by KMML from Thottappally pursuant to the impugned government order was illegally diverted to CMRL,” the court said.

The court also noted that the Kerala High Court had upheld the validity of the government order.

Furthermore, the court pointed out that the complainant was the petitioner in the plea challenging the GO in the High Court, and at that time, he had not contended that the atomic mineral sand excavated from Thottappally and permitted to be removed by KMML was being illegally siphoned off to CMRL.

The court also noted that the present allegations made by the complainant followed the ruling of an Interim Settlement Board concerning payments made by CMRL to the CM’s daughter’s firm.

Last year, a Malayalam daily reported that CMRL had paid a total of Rs 1.72 crore to Veena, the daughter of the Kerala CM, between 2017 and 2020.

The news report cited the ruling of an interim board for settlement and said CMRL previously had an agreement with Veena’s IT firm for consultancy and software support services.

It alleged that although no service was rendered by her firm, the amount was paid on a monthly basis “due to her relationship with a prominent person.” This year, another report cited findings by the Registrar of Companies (ROC) against Veena’s firm.

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About the Author: Nunnem Gangte