The High Court on Monday observed that the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) must find the truth in the Palarivattom flyover corruption case by conducting a fair and impartial investigation. The name Palarivattom used to be associated with jackals, not corrupt people. The earlier connection should be restored to the place.
The court observed that the Palarivattom flyover, which reduced traffic congestion in Kochi to some extent, “is now unpopular because of the alleged corruption in its construction.” “The name Palarivattom evolved from the word ‘Pagalnarivattom,’ which means a place where jackals roam even in the daytime. Now, Keralites suspect that corrupt people, not jackals, wander in this area,” Justice P.V. Kunhikrishnan observed while turning down the bail plea of former Public Works Minister Ebrahim Kunju. “Jackals are better than corrupt people,” the court added.
The main allegation by the VACB against the former Minister was that he had received bribe from RDS Project Ltd., a contracting company that undertook the construction of the Palarivattom flyover. As per the Vigilance, an illegal sanction order was issued by T.O. Sooraj, fourth accused and the then Public Works Secretary, to start the construction of the flyover, violating the rules of business. The petitioner had illegally sanctioned an amount of ₹8,25,59,768 as mobilisation advance, fully knowing that no advance was allowed as per rules. The Vigilance argued that the Minister had no authority to sanction such an advance.
The Vigilance suspected that the amount deposited in the account at Punjab National Bank, Market Road, Ernakulam branch, maintained by the Muslim Printing and Publishing Company Ltd., which publishes the Chandrika daily, the Indian Union Muslim League mouthpiece, was the bribe received by the petitioner. Mr. Kunju was a member and chairperson of the governing body of Chandrika, Kochi, as per the VACB.