Former CVC Thomas’ plea for discharge in graft case dismissed

Thiruvananthapuram: A vigilance court here today dismissed the discharge petition filed by former chief vigilance commissioner P J Thomas in the decades old palmolein import deal case.

Former Chief Vigilance Commissioner P J Thomas
Former Chief Vigilance Commissioner P J Thomas

Dismissing the petition, Vigilance Court judge A Badaruddin observed that Thomas could be discharged from the case only if the investigating officers conclude that there was no evidence of his involvement in the case.

In his petition, Thomas, who was former state Food Secretary at the time of the import in 1992, pleaded for discharge saying the allegations levelled against him were baseless and politically motivated.

Claiming that he was innocent, he said he had only executed his job that was entrusted by the then government.

The court posted the case for further proceedings to October 5.

An IAS officer of 1973 batch of Kerala cadre, Thomas has been arraigned as the eighth accused in the palmolein case that pertains to alleged corruption in import of 1,500 tonnes of palm oil from Malaysia without floating global tenders when Congress stalwart late K Karunakaran was the chief minister.

The deal allegedly caused a loss of Rs 2.32 crore to the state exchequer. Karunakaran was also an accused in the case.

Thomas had to step down as CVC in 2011 in the back drop of the the case.

A Vigilance probe into the deal was ordered by the LDF ministry led by then Chief Minister E K Nayanar in 1999.