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SC notice to Centre on former CVC chief P J Thomas plea

PJ Thomas, retired IAS officer whose appointment as Chief Vigilance Commissioner was held as illegal because of a pending corruption case against him in the decade-old palmolein oil importscam approached the Supreme Court on Friday for quashing of the case.

Agreeing to hear his plea, a bench comprising Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and justices A R Dave and Vikramajit Sen also issued notice to Kerala government.

He moved the apex court after the Kerala High Court dismissed his plea for quashing the corruption case pertaining to the import of palm oil from a Singapore firm, which was allegedly done at prices higher than the international rate during his tenure as Food Secretary in the state government.

The import of oil allegedly caused a loss of Rs 2.32 crore to the exchequer.

Thomas submitted that there is nothing on record to show that he committed any offence and he was only executing a cabinet decision as a dutiful civil servant.

‘The petitioner is facing trial, despite the fact that he has not committed any offence according to the law of the land, and as such there in nothing in the record to be termed as offence to be tried in the eyes of law against him and the continuance of the trial amounts violation of fundamental rights,’ the petition said.

The matter pertains to an issue which happened on November 27, 1991 i.e. more than 21 years back and there is no justification in compelling the petitioner to face the trial indefinitely, it said.
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