Kerala court postpones Palm oil case hearing | india | Hindustan Times
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Kerala court postpones Palm oil case hearing

The hearing of the 18-year-old palm oil import scam case has been postponed on Saturday to October 23, as the Supreme Court has not yet vacated its 2008 stay on the hearing of the case.

india Updated: Sep 25, 2010 23:37 IST
Ramesh Babu

The hearing of the 18-year-old palm oil import scam case has been postponed on Saturday to October 23, as the Supreme Court has not yet vacated its 2008 stay on the hearing of the case.

As the case came up in the vigilance special court here, the state counsel said the apex court's stay on January 3, 2008 on a special leave petition by former Kerala chief minister K. Karunakaran, was still valid.

While Karunakaran is the first accused in the case, the eighth accused is Chief Vigilance Commissioner P.J. Thomas, although the central government had claimed during Thomas' appointment that he had been exonerated in the case.

On Friday, HT published a report based on enquiries conducted under the Right to Information Act that the chief of the Central Vigilance Commission, formed in 1964 to track corruption in government departments, himself was still an accused in a corruption case.

HT obtained a second reply from the office of the enquiry commissioner and judge against queries filed under RTI. It clearly said, "Sri P.J. Thomas continues to be the eighth accused."

Thomas, a 1973 batch IAS officer, appeared before the vigilance court on April 2, 2003 and obtained bail, but he had never been exonerated. In 1992, the Kerala government, under Karunakaran, imported 15,000 tonne of palm oil from Malaysia through Power and Energy Pvt Ltd of that country for the public distribution service network.

But the deal, struck at a price higher than the market rates, resulted in a R2.8-crore loss. Thomas was the state food secretary during the time of the decision. A report by the Vigilance and Anti-corruption Bureau said he "played a pivotal role in the import of palm oil. It was he who sent a detailed proposal to the Govt of India on 18.11. 1991."