Bar bribery case: Kerala HC suspends Vigilance court order against K Babu

Babu resigned as minister from Chandy's Cabinet after the Vigilance court order.

Kochi: In a relief to former State Excise Minister K Babu, the Kerala High Court on Thursday suspended a Vigilance Court order directing the Vigilance Department to register an FIR against him and hotelier Biju Ramesh in the bar bribery scam.

Justice P Ubaid suspended the Thrissur Vigilance Court's order for a period of two months. However, the court asked the Vigilance Director to complete 'quick verification' and file the report within 10 days.

The interim order was granted after hearing the plea of Babu who resigned as minister from the Oommen Chandy Cabinet last week after the Vigilance court order.

In its order, the High Court observed that the Vigilance Court should have waited till the High Court's division bench, wherein petitions seeking similar prayers are pending, delivered its orders.

Accepting arguments made on behalf of Babu, the High Court observed that it finds some substance in the argument that the order of the trial court for court-monitored investigation into the matter, without waiting for orders of division bench, was unsustainable.

"Judicial propriety demands that when the High Court considers a matter, Vigilance Court should wait," the Court said.

The High Court criticised the attitude of Vigilance Court in acting in a hasty manner. The court ordered notice to the de facto complainant before the Vigilance Court.

Nobody opposed the application of the former minister. Even though the counsel for the complainant requested a hearing, the court said that at this stage, the complainant need not be heard.

The court criticised the media in "celebrating" the remarks of courts. It further observed that Kerala "is in the era of revelations."

Babu was the second minister to quit the Congress-led government after the then Finance Minister K M Mani of Kerala Congress (M) resigned in November last over the multi-crore rupee scandal, giving jitters to the UDF government in Kerala ahead of the coming assembly elections.

( Source : PTI )
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