Palmolein Graft Case: No Eevidence of any dissent note by Chief Secy Jiji Thomson, says Kerala govt

Kerala Government today dismissed the stand of Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson, an accused in the palmolein graft case, that he had expressed dissent on the import of about 15,000 tonnes of palmolein from Malaysia in 1991-92 by the then Congress led UDF government.

Kerala Chief Secretary.
Kerala Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson
Stating this, Home minister Ramesh Chennithala told the state assembly that Jiji Thomson had written no such dissent note. There was no evidence in this regard, he said.

The minister’s submission was made to a question from former minister S Sharma of CPI(M).

The chief secretary had courted controversy on June 2 when he told the media here that the decision of the then Congress-led government headed by Karunakaran was ‘wrong’ and that he had written a dissent note.

Thomson, who was State Civil Supplies Corporation MD at the time of import in 1991-92, had said ‘it was the duty of a civil servant to implement cabinet decision’.

“I also wrote a dissent note saying that the import was improper as no tendering process had been held. But I had no other options, but to execute it”, Thomson had stated while explaining the constraints of civil servants.

After the present UDF government came to power, it decided to withdraw the prosecution in the case, holding that it was politically motivated and the state had not incurred any loss, but in fact had earned profit of about Rs seven crore.

The Kerala High Court had rejected the government plea to withdraw the case, being persued by CPI(M) veteran and state Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan.

It had also dismissed Thomson’s plea to discharge him from the case. The matter is pending before the Supreme Court.

The case relates to alleged irregularities in the import of palmolein from a Malaysian company in Singapore by the then K Karunakaran-led UDF government in 1991-92.

The opposition had raised a hue and cry and a vigilance case was filed against Karunakaran and seven others, including Jiji Thomson.

Former Chief Vigilance Commissioner P J Thomas, then Food and Civil Supplies Secretary when the scam broke out, another accused in the case, had to resign in 2011 on the ground that he had a corruption case pending against him.