Setting aside the pleas made on behalf of the State and Municipal Administration and Rural Development Minister SP Velumani to close the public interest litigation (PIL) moved against the latter over irregularities in the issue of tenders in both the Chennai and Coimbatore Corporation, the Madras High Court on Tuesday decided to take up the case after summer vacation owing to Assembly elections being round the corner.
The first bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy before whom the plea moved by Arappor Iyakkam came up, said: “Since the State elections are round the corner it may not be appropriate to take up the matter before summer vacations. Mere pendency of the case should not lead to adverse inference being drawn against such minister and the mere obtaining of enquiry report will not absolve the minister.”
Advocate General Vijay Narayan appearing for the State contended that since the enquiry report found no wrongdoing on part of the minister, the PIL should be closed since the remedy lies elsewhere.
Senior Counsel Mukul Rohtagi appearing for the minister questioned the very maintainability of the PIL and sought to close it.
Counsel V Suresh appearing for Arappor Iyakkam submitted that the enquiry report was an orchestrated document giving the minister concerned a clean chit.
The case pending since 2018 relates to alleged largescale irregularities in the award of over 200 civil work contracts to private firms by the Greater Chennai and Coimbatore Municipal Corporations and a direction to the DVAC to register a FIR against the minister and then conduct a full-fledged investigation.