Former Kerala minister sent to prison (Second Lead, superseding earlier story)By IANS
Friday, February 18, 2011
KOCHI - Former Kerala power minister R. Balakrishnan Pillai surrendered before a special court and was sent to the Central Prison here Friday, a day after the Supreme Court handed him a one-year jail term in a corruption case.
Special Court Judge V. Vijayakumar directed police to take both Pillai and another accused, contractor P.K. Sajeev, to the prison.
The Supreme Court had Feb 10 held Pillai and two others guilty, reversing an acquittal order passed by the Kerala High Court, in the Idamalayar dam corruption case, which is nearly 30 years old.
Just before entering the court room, Pillai told reporters: “This is a politically motivated case and I have done no corruption.”
Pillai was accompanied by a large number of his supporters. He is chairman of Kerala Congress(B), an ally of the Congress-led opposition.
He was also accompanied by his son K.B. Ganesh Kumar, an actor-turned-legislator, and his son-in-law T. Balakrishnan, a senior bureaucrat in the state.
Pillai requested the court that he be treated as an A class prisoner and as a political prisoner. He also said he fears for his life.
He sought permission from the court that his immediate family be allowed to visit him once a week and that he be provided medical help as he is a cardiac patient.
A police official visited another accused in the case, the Electricity Board chairman Ramabadran Nair, to execute the arrest warrant. Nair is past 80 and is lying in a partially unconscious state in his home here.
The policeman then called up Nair’s doctor and took a statement from him. Police will now file his report in the special court Saturday.
Pillai has initiated steps to file a review petition before the apex court bench which sentenced him.
The case goes back to 1985 when reports came out that the Idamalayar tunnel had developed cracks. In 1988, a judicial report suggested that there were lapses in the project and the Left government ordered a police Crime Branch probe.
In 1999, a special court charged Pillai and others and sentenced them to a five-year jail term.
Pillai and the others appealed to the Kerala High Court, which in 2004 exonerated them. Following this, Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan petitioned the apex court in his personal capacity and fought the case.