Madras HC quashes corruption case against ex-Minister SP Velumani

The High Court quashed one case against Velumani that was filed in August 2021, but refused to quash a second case against him.
FIR Against SP Velumani is quashed
FIR Against SP Velumani is quashed
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The Madras High Court, on Wednesday, November 30, quashed a First Information Report (FIR) against former Municipal Administration Minister of Tamil Nadu SP Velumani that was registered in 2021 levelling corruption charges. However, the court had refused to quash another FIR against him that was booked earlier this year on the allegations of disproportionate assets.

While passing the order, the court observed that no political party was willing to “insulate the police from political and executive interference” leading to the courts being made to do the work of the police. “The scarce judicial time of constitutional courts are spent on public interest litigations against political functionaries alleging inaction or biased action by the police, in which process, the courts are called upon to don the role of a station house officer, which we are constrained to do, in the larger public interest,” the court said. It further observed that the reason for it was the unwillingness of the political parties to implement directions from the Supreme Court.

A division bench of Justices PN Prakash and RMT Teekaa Raman was hearing two separate pleas filed by Velumani seeking quashing the FIRs against him. The FIR was registered by the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) in August 2021, alleging irregularities in the Municipal Corporation Department and was quashed by the HC.

The FIR was registered based on a complaint lodged by Arappor Iyakkam, Secretary of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) RS Bharathi, and a report filed by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG). The complaint stated that there were irregularities while awarding tenders in Chennai and Coimbatore municipal corporations when Velumani was a Municipal Administration Minister during the previous All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) rule.

The court while passing the order said that only the case against Velumani had been quashed and not against the other accused in the case. DVAC had named seven others as accused along with Velumani in its FIR. The court said that the FIR was registered after a preliminary inquiry by DVAC Superintendent of Police Ponni in 2019, in which no material was found to register a case against Velumani.

According to the DVAC FIR, it has been alleged that the firms run by Velumani's close associates were awarded contracts worth Rs 464.02 crore and Rs 346.81 crore by the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) and Coimbatore Corporation respectively, between 2014 and 2018. The FIR also noted that officials in the corporation also violated the sections of the Tamil Nadu Transparency in Tenders Act, 1998, while awarding those tenders, allegedly under the influence of SP Velumani.

The Court did not quash the FIR that was registered by the Coimbatore unit of DVAC in March 2022 regarding the amassing assets disproportionate to his income. DVAC had alleged that Velumani and his associates plundered public money while awarding tenders to the contractors. It mentioned that he illegally acquired properties in his name and his family members' names between 2016 and 2021 worth Rs 58.94 crore.

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