NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday declined to entertain a plea by the Tamil Nadu's Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) against a Madras High Court order refusing a fresh preliminary inquiry against former Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami in connection with an alleged highway tender scam.
Appearing for DVAC, senior advocate Dushyant Dave strongly contested before a bench of Justices Bela M Trivedi and Satish Chandra Sharma the high court's observations against an inquiry into the matter.
He said that there cannot be any objection to law taking its own course.
Dave submitted that the agency was entitled to probe, and an inquiry may, if justified, be ordered by a subsequent government and the change of the government is no ground.
He said that the apex court had earlier held a number of times that investigation must take place and it cannot be interdicted.
However, the bench expressed its disinclination to interfere with the high court order.
"This is a serious case of corruption and the court must allow DVAC to at least investigate," he said.
He pointed out that the preliminary investigation was made when Palaniswami was in charge of the public works department and the police, besides being the Chief Minister of the state.
"Whatever is usually permissible within the four corners of the law, you may do. We are neither allowing anything, nor stopping you,” the bench told Dave.
The counsel, however, insisted the high court's observations will come in the way and the aspect of political rivalry should not come in the way of an investigation, if the use of the power is for a legitimate object.
He said that this matter will require detailed examination and it is a very serious matter. However, the bench was not convinced and dismissed the appeal filed by DVAC.
Palaniswami, the general secretary of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), served as the CM between 2017 and 2021. It has been alleged that he awarded contracts in the highway department based on favouritism during his tenure as the CM.