Thomas bypassed CM to clinch palm oil deal | india | Hindustan Times
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Thomas bypassed CM to clinch palm oil deal

Despite chief vigilance commissioner PJ Thomas’s claim that he had only implemented orders as state food secretary in the Kerala palm oil import scam, documents show that he went ahead with the deal without informing the then chief minister K Karunakaran.

india Updated: Dec 06, 2010 23:36 IST
Ramesh Babu

Despite chief vigilance commissioner PJ Thomas’s claim that he had only implemented orders as state food secretary in the Kerala palm oil import scam, documents show that he went ahead with the deal without informing the then chief minister K Karunakaran.

In an action taken report submitted to the public undertakings committee in 1995, the state said Thomas had kept Karunakaran in the dark about the exporting company, Singapore-based Power and Energy Private Limited’s offer letter to the CM in November 1991.

The ATR said although the letter was addressed to Karunakaran, Thomas forwarded the proposal to the Centre, seeking its clearance on the deal, nine days before the state government approved the deal on November 27, 1991.

“It is this (the central government’s) acceptance that formed the basis of the entire transaction,” the ATR said, HT was the first to report on September 24 that Thomas was still an accused in the case filed in 2003, although the Centre claimed, while appointing him as CVC, that he had been exonerated in the palm oil case.

One of the oldest graft cases, the palm oil import scam dates back to almost 18 years. The Kerala government, faced with an acute edible oils shortage, sought to import of 15,000 tonne of palm oil through power and energy. The state reportedly lost Rs 2.8 crore, as the deal violated the guidelines of the State Trading Corporation.

The Comptroller and Auditor General was the first to spot corruption in the deal. The case was later handed over to the state vigilance department. A charge sheet against the first accused, Karunakaran, and seven others were filed on March 17, 2003. Thomas is the eighth accused in the case.