Govt. says it has dropped all proceedings against Velumani: Hindu news

[2/20, 07:05] Sekarreporter: Govt. says it has dropped all proceedings against Velumani: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/govt-says-it-has-dropped-all-proceedings-against-velumani/article30865154.ece
[2/20, 07:05] Sekarreporter: Court informed that DVAC gave Minister clean chit after a preliminary inquiry
The State government on Wednesday took the Madras High Court by surprise by claiming that it had on January 22 dropped all further proceedings against Municipal Administration Minister S. P. Velumani, on complaints of alleged irregularities in award of civil contracts by Chennai and Coimbatore Corporations, since the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption had given a clean chit to him after a preliminary inquiry.
The Public Department filed an affidavit before a Division Bench of Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and R. Hemalatha informing them about the government’s decision and urged the court to close a case filed in 2018 by Arappor Iyakkam, a non governmental organisation represented by its managing trustee Jayaram Venkatesan, seeking registration of a First Information Report against the Minister and the Corporation officials.
[2/20, 07:05] Sekarreporter: Government’s affidavit stated that the court appointed investigating officer R. Ponni, Superintendent of Police, DVAC had conducted the preliminary inquiry and filed a report to the DVAC Director Vijay Kumar on December 18, 2019 stating that no cognisable offence had been made out in the complaint warranting registration of a FIR. The report was approved by the Director and forwarded to Vigilance Commissioner on January 13.
After going through the entire report carefully, the Vigilance Commissioner endorsed the report on January 18 and forwarded it to the government for necessary action. The government, after examining the report, took a decision to drop all further proceedings, the court was told. Surprised at the developments, the senior judge in the Bench wondered how could the DVAC forward the report to the government without court’s approval.
He also asked why did the government not inform the court about its decision when the case filed by the NGO was taken up for hearing on January 23. In response, Advocate General Vijay Narayan urged the court to close pending writ petition since it had become infructuous. He said, the complainant would have to now challenge the government’s decision in the manner known to law and that the present case need not be kept pending.
However, advocate V. Suresh, representing the NGO, took strong exception to it and obtained time till March 13 for filing a counter affidavit to the government’s plea to close the case. Stating that it had been his consistent argument that the Minister, Corporation officials as well as the DVAC seluths had colluded with each other, he insisted that only a court monitored probe by a special investigation team would cull out the truth.
On his part, senior counsel C.S. Vaidyanathan, representing Chennai Corporation, accused the NGO of having filed the case with a political motive. “It is not a public interest litigation, it is a political war being fought through the court,” he said. State Public Prosecutor A. Natarajan too said, the writ petitioner could not be allowed to cast aspersions on an investigating officer appointed by the court by alleging collusion with the Minister.
After hearing all of them, the judges directed the DVAC as well as the State government to submit on March 13 all files related to the decisions taken by the Vigilance Commissioner as well as the government with regard to the issue on hand. They also permitted the government and the Minister, in his individual capacity, to file their counter affidavits to an additional affidavit submitted by the NGO alleging harassment of a whistle blower in the case.
The NGO alleged that H. Chandrabose, a registered contractor with Chennai Corporation, was subjected to continuous threats and victimisation for having exposed the irregularities. It urged the court to order police protection to him.

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