Chennai, June 27 (BPNS)
The Madras High Court on Monday refused to stay a First Information Report (FIR) registered by the Director of Vigilance and Anti Corruption (DVAC) against former Minister and AIADMK leader, S.P. Velumani. The FIR was filed for alleged irregularities in awarding contracts for construction.
It may be noted that the Tamil Nadu DVAC had conducted raids at the premises of former AIADMK ministers including M.R. Vijayabhaskar, C. Vijayabhaskar, S.P. Velumani, K.C. Veeramani, Thagamani after the DMK government assumed office and the opposition had alleged that the ruling front was resorting to political vendetta.
A Division bench of the Madras High Court comprising of Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice N. Mala rejected an appeal by the former minister for an interim stay.
The division bench directed Advocate General R. Shanmugasundaram to file a counter affidavit within three weeks against the petition of the former minister to quash the FIR.
The court also provided time to Advocate N.S. Elango representing DMK leader R.S. Bharathi and Advocate V. Suresh representing Arrappor Iyyakam, the anti-corruption outfit to file their counter-affidavits.
It may be recalled that the Arrappoor Iyyakam, the NGO, and DMK leader R.S. Bharathi had approached the court in 2018 for registering a case on corruption charges against the minister.
The court had appointed district superintendent of Police, R. Ponni to probe into the irregularities in the contracts awarded to Greater Chennai Corporation and Coimbatore Corporations and find out whether any cognizable offense was committed by the minister.
However, the minister was given a clean chit by the police officer in 2019 when the AIADMK government was in power and the government accepted her report. When the DMK government assumed office in 2021, the case was again raised with the DVAC registering an FIR against S.P. Velumani after an adverse observation from C&AG.
The counsel for the former minister had contended that the FIR was registered with a mala fide intention. The counsel wondered as to how the DVAC could do so when preliminary inquiry did not find any material relating to cognisable offense.