Chennai, Oct 12 (IANS) In a setback to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami, the Madras High Court on Friday ordered a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the allegations of tender irregualarities against him.
Reacting to the court order, opposition leaders have demanded the resignation of Palaniswami.
The court ordered the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) to hand over the papers to CBI within a week.
The court ordered the CBI to complete preliminary probe within three months and then file a case if it feels there is a case against Palaniswami.
The opposition DMK had filed a case seeking a direction to the DVAC to register a case against the Chief Minister.
The petition, filed by DMK leader R.S. Bharathi, accused Palaniswami of misusing his official position to allocate various road construction projects to companies owned by his relatives and others.
Bharathi said a complaint was made to the DVAC against Palaniswami on June 13 this year, but neither any case has been registered nor any inquiry started into the allegations in the complaint.
Welcoming the court order, DMK President M.K. Stalin said Palaniswami had given road project works valued at Rs 3,120 crore to his relative and a firm in which his relative is a partner.
Stalin said the DVAC had submitted to the court that unlike the allegation, there is no evidence of corruption in the award of road project tenders.
He demanded that Palaniswami resign immediately to ensure a free probe.
Stalin also urged Governor Banwarilal Purohit to dismiss Palaniswami if the latter does not resign.
Welcoming the court order, PMK founder S. Ramadoss demanded that Palaniswami quit his post immediately.
Tamil Nadu Secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI) R. Mutharasan said with the court ordering a CBI probe, Palaniswami has lost the moral right to continue as Chief Minister and hence he should resign from his post.