THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau may explore legal options for expunging the severe criticisms against the investigation officer and prosecutor made by the special court in the bar bribery case against former finance minister K.M. Mani.
The government is also likely to prefer granting prosecution sanction in the case instead of going for another further investigation, especially since the court has already rejected a couple of investigation reports of the VACB.
However, Mr. Mani might move the High Court against the special court order before the government takes a decision, said sources. The Inquiry Commission and Special Court (Vigilance) here had passed serious remarks against the Vigilance investigation officer and prosecutor in the order on September 18 rejecting the further investigation report giving a clean chit to Mr. Mani.
According to sources, the VACB may approach the High Court to expunge the remarks. A decision would be taken only with government consent. While Special Investigation Unit - I SP K.E. Baiju was the investigation officer, Vigilance legal advisor C.C. Agustine was the prosecutor.
The special court order said that the investigation officer had sabotaged the case by not probing into various aspects like the audio tapes containing the conversation of bar owners, citing that it was tampered. The order even expressed doubts over the sincerity of the probe team and said that an undue haste was shown for ending the case. Though there was evidence for bar owners pooling Rs 1.57 crore, the investigators did not find out how the money was spent. The court said that the prosecutor was trying to end the case at any cost.
Sources also said that if Mr. Mani moves the High Court, the vigilance investigation officer and prosecution might get further chance to present their stands. Hence, the government would take further decisions only after assessing Mr Mani's next moves.
In case, the government grants prosecution sanction, the court could take cognizance of the matter and initiate collection of evidence directly....