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The Supreme Court has stayed the Madras High Court order for a CBI investigation into charges of corruption against the Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi Palanisami.

It was on October 12 that the HC made the order following which the state Directorate of Vigilance And Anti Corruption (DVAC) on October 22 moved the Supreme Court challenging the HC order. The DVAC informed the apex court in its petition that there was no cognisable offence made out against the Chief Minister that warranted an inquiry by the CBI. The DVAC further alleged that the Madras High Court had not perused sealed reports filed by the anti-graft agency.

While the DMK had questioned whether a preliminary inquiry had, in fact, been initiated as per a complaint by party, the DVAC told the Supreme Court that inquiries did not reveal any discrepancies in the awarding of government contracts. However, a DMK leader had questioned the independence of the anti-graft body which is overseen by the Chief Minister against whom allegations have been made.

It is the second time in less than a week that the courts have provided relief to the chief minister. Late last week, the Madras High Court had disqualified 18 AIADMK MLAs who had quit the party and joined hands with the rebel leader TTV Dinakaran. Their disqualification gave the ruling AIADMK the majority that had eluded it in the state assembly. But it also means that the party faces a sterner test ahead since it will have to contest and win most of the 18 seats to ensure that its majority remains intact.

—India Legal Bureau

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