//CBI to probe bribery charge against engineer

CBI to probe bribery charge against engineer

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Friday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to take over the investigation into the allegation of bribery levelled against A.K. Surendran, Environmental Engineer, Kerala State Pollution Control Board (PCB), Thrissur.

Justice K. Balakrishnan Nair issued the directive while allowing a writ petition filed by Simon K. Francis, one of the directors of a granite crusher company in Thrissur.

Mr. Francis said that on buying the unit in 2002, he decided to set up two additional crushers and approached the Board’s office for consent. As there had been no action, he filed a writ petition in the High Court. The court gave directives for conducting a trial run and issuing consent in case there was no pollution.

The engineer, however, demanded a bribe of Rs. 15 lakhs for conducting the trial run. The same engineer was caught red-handed earlier while accepting a bribe.

The judge observed that the accused was let off deliberately on flimsy grounds by the investigation officer in that case. It was an unusual case.

In the instant case, there was some delay in searching the residence of the engineer. Though an FIR was lodged by the vigilance, he was not arrested. The interpolation of FIR as alleged by the petitioner could not be ruled out.

Corrupt officials at the helm of the Board were a threat to the health of human beings. The right to have a clean environment would be put in jeopardy if it was manned by corrupt officials