Madurai: The Madras High Court on Tuesday quashed a case of abetment to suicide and corruption filed against former Tamil Nadu minister "Agri" SS Krishnamoorthy in connection with the death of a senior official in his department in 2015, which led to his exit from the ministry.
Justice VS Ravi of Madurai bench quashed the case on the grounds that there was no direct evidence to suggest that Krishnamoorthy had demanded bribe money from the official, who allegedly committed suicide as he was unable to bear the 'pressure' to pay up the amount.
The judge passed the order on a petition by Krishnamoorthy seeking quashing of the case, investigated by CB-CID and pending in a court in Tirunelveli.
According to CB-CID, Assistant Executive Engineer of Agricultural Engineering Department S Muthukumarasamy ended his life by jumping before a speeding train on 20 February, 2015 as he was unable to bear the mental pressure exerted on him by his superiors to pay Rs 12.25 lakh to
Krishnamoorthy, then agriculture minister, for appointment of seven drivers in the department.
It had charged Krishnamoorthy with entering into a criminal conspiracy with some officials to collect a bribe of Rs 1.75 lakh each for the appointment of 191 temporary drivers in the department.
However, the petitioner submitted that the case had been filed based on surmises and conjectures and there was no direct evidence even to suggest that he had demanded Rs 1.75 lakh from the candidates for the post of drivers through his subordinates or by himself.
There was no proof for any of the main sections under which he had been booked: namely IPC 120 (a) criminal conspiracy, IPC 306 (abetment to suicide) or Prevention of Corruption Act, he contended.
He claimed it was not even the case of the prosecution that he had spoken to Muthukumarasamy either in person or over phone.
Krishnamoorthy submitted that he had no direct or indirect participation to abet the act of the deceased, adding he "cannot be roped in under IPC 306 without cogent materials."
He said Muthukumarasamy had not left behind any suicide note and the prosecution case was based only on the circumstances of the case.
Referring to the corruption charge, he said the Judicial Magistrate I of Tirunelveli was not the competent person to take cognisance of it, since the court was not notified under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The death of the official had snowballed into a political row leading to Krishnamoorthy's exit from the state cabinet. He was also stripped off his party posts before his arrest in April 2015.