Vigilance Court in Kerala nixes plea seeking closure of probe against distilleries

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A Vigilance Court here on Thursday set aside Kerala government’s plea seeking closure of a probe into allocation of distilleries and breweries and asked it to hand over all the relevant documents to veteran Congress legislator Ramesh Chennithala, the petitioner.

Chennithala, who was the Leader of Opposition during the first term of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan (2016-21) in 2018, had denounced the latter for sanctioning three breweries in Kannur, Palakkad and Ernakulam and a distillery in Thrissur — the first ever since 1999.

Alleging that even though the decision was revoked, there was corruption involved in it, he filed a petition before the Vigilance.

Following a spirited campaign by Chennithala then, Vijayan was forced to withdraw the sanctions and it was cancelled.

But not one to lie low, Chennithala took up this case but failed to get a green signal from either Kerala Governor or the Kerala High Court.

He, then approached the Vigilance court and on Thursday, won the first round when the court said the court has the right to go forward with the probe. It also directed the state government to hand over all the documents in this case to Chennithala and posted the case for July 17.

In this case, Chennithala has arraigned Vijayan as the first accused and two former state ministers T.P.Ramakrishnan and E.P.Jayarajn as witnesses.

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