SIT must investigate corruption allegations against Velumani

TAMIL NADU

‘SIT must investigate corruption allegations against Velumani’

Minister for Municipal Administration and Rural Development S. P. Velumani (right) with Chief Minister Edapadi K. Palaniswami. | File

Legal CorrespondentCHENNAI 08 JANUARY 2020 01:18 ISTUPDATED: 08 JANUARY 2020 08:19 IST    

DMK and Arappor Iyakkam tell court they have lost faith in DVAC

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam organisation secretary R.S. Bharathi as well as Arappor Iyakkam managing trustee Jayaram Venkatesan on Tuesday told the Madras High Court that they had lost faith in the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) and hence a special investigation team (SIT) should be constituted to probe allegations of corruption against Municipal Administration Minister S. P. Velumani under court supervision.

Arguing before a Division Bench of Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and R. Hemalatha, senior counsel N. R. Elango as well as advocate V. Suresh impressed upon the court to constitute a SIT and also monitor the probe into serious charges of the Minister having created a cartel and ensured that all civil contracts by Greater Chennai Corporation as well as Coimbatore Corporation were awarded to private firms run either by his family members or benamis.

In his submission, the senior counsel criticised the DVAC for having conducted a detailed investigation in the guise of conducting a preliminary inquiry on complaints lodged by Mr. Bharathi and Mr. Venkatesan in September 2018 and thereby attempting to give a clean chit to the Minister without even registering a First Information Report.Advertising

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He said the term ‘preliminary inquiry’ could not be found anywhere in the Code of Criminal Procedure and that it was basically a judge made law.

The Supreme Court had in various pronouncements recognised the right of the police to conduct a preliminary inquiry before registering an FIR, but had also clarified that the scope of the inquiry should be limited to find out whether a cognisable offence had been made out by the complainant or not. “If a bare reading of the complaint makes out a cognisable offence, an FIR should be registered straight away. There is no necessity for a preliminary inquiry,” he asserted.

Mr. Elango went on state that the DVAC could not also take umbrage under the fact that it was governed by the provisions laid down in its manual because the latter contained mere executive instructions.

“The DVAC manual is not a statute, it cannot supersede the Cr.P.C.,” he said.

Appearing on behalf of the NGO Arappor Iyakkam, Mr. Suresh pointed out that even the DVAC manual provided a maximum of three months for completion of preliminary inquiry. However, in so far as the complaint against the Minister was concerned, the DVAC sleuths had well crossed the time limit prescribed in their own manual. He also claimed that elaborate statements of witnesses had been recorded though it could not be done without registering a FIR.

The judges posted the case to January 23.CommentsMore In

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