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The Hindu
The Hindu
The Hindu Bureau

Governor accords sanction to prosecute two former AIADMK Ministers in gutkha case

Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi has accorded sanction for prosecuting two former AIADMK Ministers C. Vijayabaskar and B.V. Ramanaa against whom the CBI had registered cases in the gutkha scam case.

The State Cabinet had forwarded the CBI’s request for sanctioning prosecution of the two former Ministers to the Governor’s Office in September last year. A note submitted by the Union Home Ministry in the Supreme Court on Monday said the Governor had accorded sanction on November 13 this year.

However, as for another file sent in September last year seeking sanction to prosecute former AIADMK Minister K.C. Veeramani in a case filed by the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC), the Raj Bhavan sought “an authenticated investigation report” on July 7 this year.

When the government replied four days later that the same was submitted, the Raj Bhavan sent back the file on November 15 with the observations that there was no duly authenticated probe report in the file.

“All that is there are a number of unauthenticated loose sheets,” the Raj Bhavan replied, but the file was received back again on November 18.

According to the note, titled ‘Factual position regarding Bills, files and other cases pending with the office of the Governor, Tamil Nadu’, submitted by the Attorney- General of India in the Supreme Court, the file received on May 15 this year seeking sanction to prosecute former AIADMK Minister M.R. Vijayabhaskar was “under consideration”.

Curiously, on July 6, a day after Tamil Nadu Law Minister S. Regupathy wrote to the Governor seeking action on the case related to Mr. Vijayabhaskar, the Raj Bhavan in a press release claimed the “Raj Bhavan has not received any reference or request in respect of M.R. Vijaya Bhaskar from the State government.” Whereas now the note submitted in the Supreme Court acknowledges that a file was received on May 15.

The Governor has also accorded permission to prosecute former Vice-Chancellor of Tamil University G. Baskaran. The file relating to this case was received in April 10 this year and the permission was accorded on November 18.

As for the government’s recommendation for premature release of life convicts, the total number of proposals received since September 2021 were 580. Approval was granted for the pre-mature release of 362 convicts, while the proposal with regard to 165 cases was rejected. A total of 53 cases were under examination by the Governor.

With regard to the proposal for appointment of members of Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission, the Governor had observed that there was no transparency in the entire selection process and he found that the person sought to be appointed as the Chairman would have less than a year in office, if appointed.

“As the concerns of the Governor over the manner of selection were not addressed by the Government, the proposal concerned had been returned on October 26, 2023. Currently, this matter is not pending in the office of the Governor,” the note said.

In his reply over the issue of notification by the Governor regarding the Search Committee for selection of Vice-Chancellors of three State universities, written communications were sent to the Tamil Nadu government to reconstitute the Search-cum-Selection Committee as per the Supreme Court judgement in Professor (Dr.) Sreejith P.S. vs Dr. Rahasree & Others case as well as the UGC Regulations, 2018.

“Since [the] Government did not reconstitute the Committee as per UGC Regulations, despite repeated reminders, the Governor-Chancellor had no other option but to add the nominee of the UGC Chairman and reconstitute the Search-cum-Selection Committee and notify the same. In the case of University of Madras, the Governor-Chancellor has added the UGC Chairman’s nominee and constituted the Search-cum-Selection Committee,” the note said.

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