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Madras HC calls for DVAC report on former AIADMK Minister for causing losses to TN govt

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Chennai: The Madras High Court has called for a detailed status report, by November 15, from the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) on the probe into the allegations against former Food Minister R. Kamaraj for allegedly causing a loss of about Rs 350 crore to the State exchequer in the procurement of essential commodities during the previous AIADMK regime.

On a writ petition filed by former AIADMK member Va. Pugalendhi alleging a sloppy inquiry despite the complaint having been filed in 2018 against the former Minister and prayed for a direction to the Investigating agency that the probe should be completed in a time-bound manner, Mr.Justice A.D. Jagadish Chandira directed the government counsel to ensure that the report was filed before the court by November 15.

Contending that former AIADMK leader and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had banned the procurement of Masoor dhal, for the public distribution system, citing certain ill effects, Mr Kamaraj, when he was the Food Minister in the Edappadi K.Palaniswami Ministry, had recommended its procurement after her death in December 2016.

Claiming that the dhal was procured at an exorbitant price from a select contractor, he further alleged that there were also irregularities in the procurement of palm oil and other commodities that caused a heavy loss to the exchequer and an unlawful gain to the Minister and others.

Stating that his complaint in 2018, when the AIADMK was in power, was not acted upon, the petitioner said only after the DMK came to power (in May 2021) he had received a reply from the DVAC on March 9, 2022, that a detailed inquiry was being conducted.

When Justice Chandira wanted to know the reason for the slow pace of the inquiry, the Government Advocate said three identical complaints had been received by the DVAC and the agency had conducted a preliminary inquiry before taking up a detailed inquiry.

He said the issue required examination of voluminous tender documents and the DVAC had so far inquired with 15 officials of the Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation.

After recording the submissions, the Judge directed the DVAC to file a detailed status report by November 15 and adjourned the matter to that date.

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