Observing that the Palarivattom flyover corruption case belonged to the category of socio-economic offences, the Vigilance Special Judge, Muvattupuzha, on Thursday denied bail to former Minister V. K. Ebrahim Kunju.
The court permitted the interrogation of Mr. Kunju, who is arraigned as the fifth accused in the case, for one day.
In his order, Jobin Sebastian, the Special Judge, noted that it was a case of embezzlement of crores of rupees from the public exchequer. A perusal of the case diary indicated that very serious allegations were raised against the petitioner.
The Supreme Court had earlier noted that socio-economic offences constituted a class apart and need to be visited with a different approach in the matter of bail. Hence it was not desirable to show much leniency in the matter of bail, the court observed.
The interrogation of the accused is necessary, the court noted, to unearth entire facts involved in the case. There was no material to show that the accused was sound in body to leave him in police custody.
However, the minimum request to permit him to interrogate Mr. Kunju for the purpose of investigation had to be allowed. Considering his health condition, the interrogation can be allowed only in stringent conditions, the court said.
Permitting the interrogation of Mr. Kunju on November 30, the court said he shall be questioned from 9 a.m. to 12 noon and 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the hospital where he was undergoing treatment.
The court directed the investigating officer (IO) and the other members of the investigation team, who intend to take part in the interrogation, to undergo COVID-19 screening test 24 hours before the interrogation.
The IO shall ascertain the health condition of the accused from the doctor who is treating him, the court directed.
The accused shall not be subjected to any physical to mental harassment during the course of interrogation and he shall be given a break of 15 minutes after the completion of every one hour of investigation, the court ordered.
The IO was also asked not to cause any obstruction to the medication and the treatment of the accused, the court said.