Saturday, Sep 27, 2003
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By Our Legal Correspondent
A Bench, comprising Justice V.N. Khare and Justice S.B. Sinha, dismissed the transfer petition in limine observing that:
"We have confidence in our High Courts."
The Bench, however, said that the petitioner, K. Mohanan Nair, who filed it in public interest, could approach the apex court if there was any grievance against the High Court order at a later stage. The Kerala High Court is now hearing the appeals filed by the convicted persons, including Mr. Balakrishna Pillai, K. Ramabhadran Nair, former KSEB chairman, and K. Sajeevan, contractor, against their conviction and sentence of five years' rigorous imprisonment by the Idamalayar Special court in the case relating to the corruption in the construction of the power tunnel of the Idamalayar Hydroelectric Project.
The special court found the three guilty of the three of the six charges and awarded the punishment. However, it acquitted seven others. The LDF Government had filed an appeal against the special court's order absolving Mr. Pillai and two others in respect of three charges and the acquittal of seven others. Mr. Pillai and two others had also filed their appeals challenging the conviction.
All the appeals were being heard by the High Court and to a question from the judge whether the present UDF Government wanted to continue the prosecution, it was submitted on behalf of the Government that it wanted to pursue the appeals.
Meanwhile, there were reports that the present Advocate-General had given legal opinion recommending that the Government should withdraw the "Graphite case" pending against Mr. Pillai before a vigilance court.
It was in this context that Mr. Mohanan Nair, moved the apex court seeking transfer of the appeals pending in the High Court in the Idamalayar case to any other High Court other than Kerala on the ground that there would not be a proper prosecution against the accused if the cases were conducted by the present prosecution as Mr. Pillai was part of the Government and there would not be a fair trial.
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