STATE OF KERALA Vs. K KARUNAKARAN
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
STATE OF KERALA
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(1.) This revision is directed against the Order dated 31.3.2001 of the Enquiry Commissioner & Special Judge, Thiruvananthapurm on the final report in Crime No. 1/97 / SCT of the Vigilance & And Corruption Bureau, Special Cell, Thiruvananthapuram.
(2.) The facts necessary for the disposal of this petition may be stated as follows:
Sri. K. Karunakaran, a member of the Parliament and a former Chief Minister of the Kerala State is the first accused in V.C. 1/1997 on the file of the Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau, Special Cell, Thiruvananthapuram. The said crime was registered alleging the commission of the offences punishable under S.13(2) read with S.13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and S.120B of the Indian Penal Code. The allegation is that Sri. K. Karunakaran, the then Chief Minister of Kerala, Sri. T.H. Mustaffa, former Minister for Civil Supplies, Sri. S. Padmakumar, the then Chief Secretary to Government of Kerala, Sri. Zachariah Mathew, then Additional Chief Secretary of Food and Civil Supplies, Sri. Jiji Thomson and P.J. Thomas by abusing their official position as public servants employed in the affairs of the Government of the State of Kerala entered into a criminal conspiracy among themselves and also with Power and Energy and PTE of which Accused Nos. 6 and 7 were the Directors and Mala Export Corporation and in pursuance of the conspiracy arranged the import of Pamolein through M/s. Power and Energy Pvt. Ltd., Singapore and M/s. Mala Trading Corporation, Madras in violation of the rules and procedures laid down by the Central / State Governments and caused pecuniary loss of approximately Rs. 2.8. crores to the Kerala State and thereby the accused committed the offences. After completing the investigation, a final report was filed before the Special Judge, Thiruvananthapuram under S.173(2) of the Cr.P.C, on 1.11.1999. As the investigating agency was of the view that sanction from the Lok Sabha Speaker is necessary for prosecuting the first accused, the Special Judge was requested to take cognizance of the offences after getting the permission of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. On 21.1.2000, another report was filed by the investigating agency seeking extension of time to obtain permission for prosecution. The learned Special Judge extended the time by three months as a last chance to obtain and produce necessary sanction. Again on 20.4.2000, another report was filed by the investigating agency seeking further extension Of time. But the lower court was not inclined to extend the time and ordered to return the final report to the investigating officer to re - submit the same after obtaining permission. While so, on 23.3.2001, the investigating officer resubmitted the final report stating that since the first accused has ceased to be Chief Minister of Kerala, permission of the Speaker of Lok Sabha is not required to prosecute him. But the court below held that permission of the Lok Sabha Speaker is necessary to prosecute the first accused. The relevant portion of the order of the lower court reads as follows:
Since the main allegation is against Accused No. 1 and as the main offences alleged against him is the offence under S.13 of the P.C. Act, 1988, it is for the prosecution to state whether it would be sufficient to take cognizance against Accused No, 1 for the offence under S.120B IPC only or whether it is just and proper to wait till the permission of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha is obtained for prosecuting the accused for the offence under S.13(1)(d) read with S.13(2) of the P.C. Act, 1988 and then proceed in the matter. A report to this effect is to be filed within seven days.
The said order is seriously challenged in this revision filed by the State.
(3.) Since the lower court had not taken cognizance of the offences and no processes were issued to the accused, the accused in the case were not made parties to this Revision Petition. But at the time of admission, I thought it was necessary to implead Sri. K. Karunakaran as a respondent in this case since a very important question of law is involved in the case. As per the Order dated 11.4,2001 Sri. Karunakaran was impleaded as a respondent in the Revision Petition.;
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