Former Municipal Administration and Rural Development Minister S.P. Velumani of the AIADMK has objected to a court-monitored probe into a case registered against him by the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) on August 16, ordered on the basis of Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) report that some private civil contractors benefited unduly due to injudicious analysis of corporation tenders during his tenure.
In a counter affidavit before the Madras High Court, he said there was no need for a court-monitored probe since he was no longer a Minister. “The need to monitor the investigation does not arise in view of subsequent change in political scenario. I am no longer a Minister and even otherwise, I never had any nexus or access with the law-enforcing authorities to scuttle the process of fair and independent investigation,” his affidavit read.
He said that a court-monitored investigation would cause serious prejudice to his right of defence. “The continuation of this writ petition would create further prejudice to my legal remedies in as much as any legal forum which I approach would be awaiting the outcome of the present writ petition,” he said. The counter was filed in response to a writ petition filed by Arappor Iyakkam, in 2018.
The NGO had alleged several irregularities in award of contracts by Greater Chennai and Coimbatore Corporations during the tenure of Mr. Velumani. and sought a direction to the DVAC to register an FIR against him and the corporation officials. It had also insisted upon a court-monitored probe. After the filing of the writ petition, the court ordered a preliminary inquiry into the complaint by the DVAC.
The investigating officer filed a negative report in 2019 stating that there was no material to register an FIR. The then AIADMK government accepted the report and dropped all further proceedings in 2020. Nevertheless, after a change of regime in the State, the incumbent DMK government had chosen to register an FIR now on the pretext of the CAG report, the Minister complained.
He also claimed that he was actually a victim of proxy litigation at the instance of his political rivals who were expecting the court to conduct a roving inquiry to pin him down. He contended that such a course of action was impermissible under law.