Brewery and distillery license case: Special Court allows Chennithala's plea to summon files

Ramesh Chennithala

Thiruvananthapuram: The breweries and distilleries license case which rocked the first Pinarayi Vijayan government is once again in the limelight. A Special Court here on Thursday allowed senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala's plea for directions to the Principal Secretary (tax) to produce files relating to the issuance of licences by the State government in 2018 for breweries in Kannur, Palakkad and Ernakulam districts and a distillery in Thrissur.

Over the plea filed in 2018, the court has approved Chennithala’s demand for availing the files concerned with the issualnce of licence to breweries and distilleries. The court has also given nod to record the statements of the officials concerned.

Meanwhile, the state government had filed a counter petition and batted that Chennithala’s demand should not be approved. The state government also argued that the court should restrict further procedures in the case as ‘there were no irregularities’.

The new development comes amid this and puts the state government in an awkward position. The hearing in the case is slated for July 17.

A statement issued by Chennithala's office as well as his advocate Vakkom G Saseendran confirmed the order of the Special Court in Thiruvananthapuram.Saseendran said the court rejected the Vigilance Department's objections to the plea of the Congress leader.

The department had contended that as a similar plea had been rejected by the Kerala High Court the case had no legal validity.

The Vigilance had also argued that the files cannot be shown to the witnesses in the case at the time of recording of their statements in the court, the statement issued by Chennithala's office said.

Chennithala had sought production of the files to substantiate the allegations of corruption levelled by him against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, former Excise Minister T P Ramakrishna, then Excise Commissioner Rishiraj Singh and the Deputy Commissioners of the districts where the brewery and distillery were granted permission.

The senior Congress leader has sought filing of graft cases against all of them under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

(with inputs from PTI)

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