The ranking officer, who spoke at length to The Media on Sunday, said he felt short-changed that his version of events was not reflected in the preliminary inquiry report (PER) filed by the VACB in connection with the accusation that Mr. Reddy as director and R. Sukeshan, SP, as Investigating Officer (IO), had connived to derail the bar licence renewal bribery case against former Finance Minister K.M. Mani.
(The VACB has given both a clean chit in the case.)
The PER, which was made public on Friday, just stated that Mr. Reddy’s 71-page has been “enclosed as produced.”
In contrast, the report discussed Mr. Sukeshan’s “finger-pointing” statement that arguably hinted that Mr. Reddy had compelled him to drop the case against Mr. Mani. Mr. Reddy viewed the release of the culled report without his statement as a malicious attempt to prejudice the court and the public against him.
Mr. Reddy said he had found glaring discrepancies between the findings of the IO and the facts available on record after he took over as director, VACB.
For one, the questions given to a key witness during a lie detector test appeared framed to elicit set answers. The mobile phone locations of many key players in the controversy did not match their stated whereabouts at the time of collecting the bribe or making the alleged backhander payments.
Mr. Reddy prepared a “scrutiny note” asking the IO to clarify the points. The note and his careful vetting of recorded evidence could not be construed as an attempt to derail the probe. Mr. Sukeshan himself concluded that there was no evidence to indict Mr. Mani for corruption.
Mr. Sukeshan had created a smoke screen to cover up the incongruities in his investigation. A Crime Branch inquiry has indicated that the IO had allegedly connived with Biju Ramesh, the de-facto complainant, to foist the case on Mr. Mani for their unknown ends, he said.