Tamil Nadu Minister Corruption Case: HC Gives More Time to Anti-Graft Body to File Probe Report
The DMK has alleged Minister SP Velumani had awarded about 350 contracts worth several crores of rupees related to corporations and municipalities of the state to firms run by his close aides between 2014 and 2018.
File photo of Tamil Nadu Minister SP Velumani.
Chennai: The Madras High Court has granted the state’s anti-graft watchdog time till December 18 to finish its investigations against Municipal Administration Minister SP Velumani.
This came at a time when a non-profit organisation, Arappor Iyakkam, has sought a probe by a special investigation team (SIT) and accused the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) of indulging in delaying tactics for months.
The NGO and MK Stalin-led Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) have alleged that Velumani had awarded about 350 contracts worth several crores of rupees related to corporations and municipalities of the state to firms run by his close aides between 2014 and 2018.
The NGO has filed records against the minister. Its lawyer said most tenders were filed from the same Internet Protocol (IP) address. The DMK has also filed several documents, including a Right to Information (RTI) reply in support of its allegations against the minister.
The minister, however, filed a counter affidavit before the court denying any wrongdoing and said he did not interfere with the awarding of tenders by various corporations in the state.
Public Prosecutor A Natarajan told the court the DMK’s allegations were not backed by evidence and experts have given conflicting opinions on the issue of IP address.
The case had come up for hearing in January this year when the HC had issued notices to DVAC, state government, Velumani and corporations of Chennai and Coimbatore, following which the government asked the anti-graft body to investigate the case.
Eight months later, when the case came up for hearing, the DVAC said the investigation was still on and the court asked the DVAC to file a report in a sealed cover on the probe by November 1.
On October 18, the high court had pulled up the DVAC for seeking another delay in the matter when there was a prima facie case of corruption against the minister.
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