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NEW DELHI:  The Supreme Court on Thursday 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.

One-year jail term to former Kerala minister in graft case

NEW DELHI:  The Supreme Court on Thursday 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 Mr Justice P Sathasivam and Mr Justice 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 ` 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, Mr 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.
Reacting to the conviction, Pillai said he would surrender before the court on getting the summons.
The Chief Minister, who has spearheaded the legal battle against Pillai for two decades, said the apex court vindicated his stand and he saw it as a “warning to those who thrive by stealing public money.”
A visibly upset Pillai (76), replied in the negative when reporters asked if he had any plan to explore possibilities of filing a revision petition.
“I will surrender when I get the summons. This is the reward for serving the people all these years,” Pillai, whose party is a constituent in the Congress-led UDF, said.
 

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