In a major setback to the Tamil Nadu government, the Madras High Court on Friday ordered a CBI probe into the allegations against Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palanisami in awarding multi-crore highways contracts to his relatives. The court ordered the state’s investigation agency, Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC), to handover all the documents related to the case to the CBI within a week.
The High Court order came out on a petition filed by the opposition DMK in August. The petition filed by the DMK was heard by Justice Jagadish Chandra in earlier occasions and the DVAC had replied that it was already investigating the issue. However, not satisfied with the DVAC investigations, the court ordered the CBI to take over the case and file a preliminary report within three months. The DVAC had apparently filed an affidavit on August 9 before the court saying that there was no prima facie evidence and that no cognisable evidence had been made against the chief minister.
However, the transferring of the case to the CBI by the High Court, is likely to invite more trouble for Palanisami who is already on a sticky wicket with a thin majority in the assembly. For Palanisamy, who seems to run a stable government by having a flock of 122 AIADMK MLAs and enjoys a good rapport with the ruling BJP in the centre, the transferring of the case will turn into a Damocle's sword. It is worth mentioning that his fomer party leader, Jayalalithaa, was convicted in the Disproportionate Assets case 21 years after the case was filed. In fact, the case and the conviction brought her a lot of disrespect and health issues.