Advocate General CP Sudhakara Prasad following the dictates from AKG centre

published on May 4, 2009

AGs have proved political bias earlier also

PNS | Kochi

The “legal advice” of Advocate General CP Sudhakara Prasad to the Kerala Cabinet that there was no need to permit the prosecution of CPI(M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan in the multi-crore SNC Lavalin corruption case has led to heated debates on the perils of a political nominee holding a Constitutional office. However, legal experts point out that this was not the first time an Advocate General had given controversial legal advice in a sensational case.

The legal advice given by former Advocate General MK Damodaran to the then government in the sensational ice cream parlour sex abuse case is said to be an example of this tendency among people who get nominated by political parties to the constitutional post. Damodaran had advised the then Cabinet that Muslim League leader and former minister PK Khnhalikkutty need not be listed as an accused in the case despite solid recommendations on the contrary.

Then Director General of Prosecutions Kallada Sukumaran, after carefully examining the case diary, had given a 14-page legal note to the then government asking it to take the case ahead by listing Kunhalikkutty as an accused as the statements given by four witnesses were of very serious nature. The then CPI(M) State secretariat under secretary Chadayan Govindan, predecessor of Pinarayi Vijayan, had taken a decision that no accused person should be exempted from the case.

However, the death of Chadayan and the coronation of Pinarayi Vijayan as secretary – ironically through some clever political games by VS Achuthanandan – changed the course of the case. With Pinarayi’s advent to political power, a tactic was allegedly formulated for saving Kunhalikkutty. It was then alleged that MK Damodaran had found a way to help Kunhalikkutty, whose escape from the case was somehow a personal matter for Pinarayi.

Damodaran handed over a three-page note, which made no mention of the points raised in the legal note prepared by Kallada Sukumaran, to the investigating official. His advice was that there was no way to make Kunhalikkutty an accused in the case as no solid evidence had been gathered in the investigation and as the available evidences were not enough for warranting prosecution.

Critics of the CPI(M) say that the party had later forced its cadres to unleash agitations against Kunhalikkutty, to save whom the leaders, including Pinarayi, had once played a political game. But this was all a drama for the consumption of the public, they say.

There were also allegations that this was not the first time the present Advocate General had given controversial legal advices to the Government on crucial issues. Another controversial legal advice provided by Sudhakara Prasad was in the issue of the sale of 70 acres of public sector Hindustan Machine Tools in Kalamassery to real estate company Blue Star Realtors.

A secretary-level expert team, headed by the Chief Secretary, had recommended that the land sold to the Mumbai-based company should be taken over through legal procedures. However, the neo-liberalist official leadership of the CPI(M), which did not like this report, wanted the Advocate General, said to be a nominee of the Pinarayi faction, to provide expert legal advice on the issue.

CPI(M)’s opponents say that Sudhakara Prasad had promptly gave his expert opinion that the Government did not have the right to take over the land. The Kerala High Court is yet to issue its final order in this case.

What caused the controversy was the fact that several hectares of land the Government had once taken over from individuals and had handed over to HMT for industrial purposes would go into the hands of private owners if the advice of the Advocate General was honoured. It is alleged that this act of Sudhakara Prasad had proved his clear leanings towards the Pinarayi faction in the CPI(M) in the protracted group war within the CPI(M).

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