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DVAC to shortly start probe against TN Minister over graft charges: Govt to HC

DVAC to shortly start probe against TN Minister over graft charges: Govt to HC

Chennai, Jan 29 (PTI) Sanction has been accorded for a preliminary inquiry into corruption charges against Tamil Nadu Minister S P Velumani and it would begin shortly, the state government informed the Madras High Court Tuesday. Making the submission before a bench comprising Justices M Sathyanarayanan P Rajamanickam, Advocate General Vijay Narayan said the state government had decided to accord sanction for the probe under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Producing a January 8 letter of the principal secretary to the Public Department, he said the decision was taken after careful perusal of a petition filed by DMK organising secretary R S Bharati seeking a probe against Velumani over alleged corruption in award of contracts. The bench was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) by non-governmental organisation "Arappor Iyakkam", which has also sought an investigation into alleged flouting of laws in awarding of tenders for government projects among others by the minister. The counsel for the NGO said neither the chief secretary nor the government was the competent authority to grant permission to the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) to investigate into the complaint against a minister and prayed that the governor take a call on the issue. The bench after hearing both sides posted the matter for filing counter by the respondents, including the DVAC, the chief secretary and others, and posted the matter for further hearing on March 28. The court had on January 4 ordered notice to the chief secretary and others on the PIL. The NGO had alleged that Velumani, the minister for municipal administration and rural development, indulged in brazen abuse of power, favouritism and gross breach of trust in performance of his public and official duty. PTI COR NVG VS SNESNE