In a setback to the LDF government in Kerala, the Kerala High Court on Friday quashed the FIR filed by the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) against former chief minister Oommen Chandy, former chief secretary EK Bharath Bhushan and others in the Pattoor land deal case, noting it was based on “assumed facts and false statements”. The court has also cancelled the Vigilance probe into the case.

The court order came in a petition filed by Bharath Bhushan. Quashing the FIR and Vigilance probe, the single bench of Justice K Abraham Mathew slammed former Vigilance chief Jacob Thomas for registering a case on a non-existent land grab. “It is high time he should learn some discipline,” the court said

It was during Jacob Thomas’s tenure as Vigilance chief, the FIR was registered against Chandy and others. The high court had previously pulled up Thomas, charging him with presenting conjectures as facts before the court in connection with the case.

The FIR was registered in February last year against Chandy, Bhushan and three others. Chandy is the fourth accused in the case, and the cancelling of the case comes as a relief to the former chief ministerChandy.
The charge was that Bhushan and Chandy committed criminal misconduct by abusing their official positions to cause undue advantage to the builders. The Vigilance case was that the government had lost 12.75 cents of land by reallocating sewage pipeline of the water authority to help a private builder in Pattoor.