Ending a brief relief for CPI-M veteran and former chief minister VS Achuthanandan, a Kerala high court Bench on Thursday stayed within hours a single judge's order quashing an FIR against him in a land allotment case.
Achuthanandan secured relief from Justice SS Sateeshchandran who held that framing a case against him on "false and frivolous" allegation was "unworthy of any merit", while allowing his plea to quash proceedings against him.
But moving swiftly, Congress-led UDF government challenged the order and the division bench, comprising Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice AM Shaffique admitted the appeal.
The bench made it clear that the chargesheet will not be laid in the case till the appeal was disposed.
The stay order came as a huge relief for the government which was embarrassed by the quashing of the FIR and strong observations made by the court in the morning.
In a 64-page order, Justice Sateeshchandran said some features presented in the case were "too disturbing", that in fact "gives enough room to generate" suspicion that the machinery of vigilance is misused and abused to silence political opponents."
The case pertains to alleged violation of norms while allotting 2.33 acres of land to TK Soman, an ex-serviceman and Achuthanandan's close relative, in Kasaragod district when he was chief minister heading the LDF ministry during 2006-11.
Chief minister Oommen Chandy said Government had not shown any haste in launching prosecution proceedings against Achuthanandan. "We are not seeing this case politically, but legally", he said.
"Government has not taken any decision in the case in haste. We have taken legal advice and launched proceedings," he said, adding, the law would take its course.
Elated over the single judge's order, Achuthanandan said in Thiruvananthapuram that it was a "mortal blow" to Congress-led UDF Government and its attempts to frame him in a corruption case.
Besides, Achuthanandan, his personal assistant Suresh and former revenue minister KP Rajendran (CPI) and some officials have been listed as accused in the FIR filed in a court in Kozhikode after a vigilance probe found prima facie evidence.
The government had on Wednesay informed the court that the chargesheet in the case would be filed soon.