Kochi, Dec 6 (IANS) Veteran CPI-M leader V.S. Achuthanandan, who is the prime accused in a land controversy, Thursday got a reprieve with a single-judge bench of the high court quashing the FIR, but it was short-lived as the state government got the verdict stayed by a division bench.
After Justice S.S. Sateeshchandran asked the first information report (FIR) to be cancelled because it had no merit in it, the state government acted swiftly and appealed against the verdict to a division bench, which stayed the earlier order.
The division bench, however, asked the state government not to go ahead with any prosecution steps and asked them to wait till it looks into the case.
The state government has already approached the governor to seek his opinion on this sensitive case and with the division bench now applying a brake, all other proceedings will now come to a halt.
The single-bench said that it appeared that Achuthanandan misused his office for favouritism, but there was no proof to validate it. It also pointed out that the investigating officer knew little about procedure.
The state vigilance department had arraigned Achuthanandan as the prime accused in the land controversy involving his relative.
Reacting to the new development, Achuthanandan said that there are courts above the division bench and he would seek the assistance of the best legal experts.
After the first verdict, he had said the game plan of both Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Industries Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty to replace him with someone else had failed.
"...See if you can unearth any conspiracy to malign me. The people have now come to know of the truth," he said.
In June last year, the Chandy government ordered a vigilance probe related to the land transfer to T.K. Soman, a relative of Achuthanandan.
The cabinet also decided to cancel the land allotment at Kasargod district to Soman, a former defence official.
The alleged land transfer took place at the fag-end of Achuthanandan's tenure as chief minister in early 2011.
On Wednesday, Chief Minister Chandy and Achuthanandan had lashed out at each other on the case.
Achuthanandan had said that he is being targeted, to which Chandy had replied that the law will take its own course.