New Delhi, Feb 10: The Supreme Court today awarded one year rigorous imprisonment to former Kerala Power minister and Congress leader R Balakrishnan Pillai and two others in the Idamalayar dam corruption case.
A bench of justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan convicted the former minister while reversing the acquittal order passed by the Kerala High Court.
The apex court upheld the prosecution plea that the former minister has entered into a criminal conspiracy that caused a loss of over Rs 2 crore to the Kerala State Electricity Board. By awarding contracts for construction of a power tunnel and surge shaft of the Idamalayar hydro electricity power project to contractor Paulose (now deceased) at extra ordinarily high rates.
The apex court, upholding the appeal filed by the then Leader of the Opposition and present Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan, said the high court had committed a grave error by overlooking the clinching evidence marshalled by the prosecution and the conviction rightly awarded by the special court in Kerala.
The apex court also expressed concern that cases of corruption relating to political personalities have been dragging endlessly in the country and pointed that in the present case, though the scandal took place in 1982, the prosecution was launched only in 1991.
The bench said there was clinching evidence to prove Pillai''s involvement in the award of the contract despite the fact that the electricity board was an independent body and was not under the control of the government to warrant his interference.