Palmolein Oil Import Scam

Palmolein Oil Import Scam

The Palm Olein Import Scam refers to allegations of corruption in the import of palm olein by K. Karunakaran, the leader of Kerala’s United Democratic Front government. The Kerala government chose Power and Energy Limited at random, without seeking offers.

How was the scam discovered?

The Kerala government purchased 15,000 tonnes of palm oil from Power and Energy Ltd. at a higher price than the open market. P. J. Thomas, Kerala’s Food Secretary at the time, signed the import order. According to the investigation agency’s charge sheet, this order cost the government more than 2.32 crores

A report by Kerala’s Accountant-General made the palmolein import scam public for the first time in July 1993. On March 21, 1997, after a Left-wing government took power in India, a case was filed against Karunakaran and six others. 

Aftermath

The Supreme Court of India stayed proceedings against K. Karunakaran after he filed a Special Leave Petition. All proceedings were halted following his death in December 2010. The case was reopened in March 2011, and Oommen Chandy, the then-Finance Minister in Karunakaran’s Cabinet, was also named to the new investigation in August 2011.

Oommen Chandy, the former Chief Minister of India, was acquitted by the Kerala High Court on June 25, 2013. The decision came in the wake of a petition filed by CPI-M veteran V. S. Achuthanandan and former bureaucrat and legislator K.J. Alphonse, who questioned Chandy’s clean chit.

The court denied a plea filed by CPI-M veteran V.S. Achuthanandan and former bureaucrat and legislator K.J. Alphonse. The Supreme Court stated that he was only prolonging the case in order to cause political upheaval.

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