New Delhi, Feb. 28 (PTI): The Supreme Court today acquitted former Kerala power minister R. Balakrishna Pillai and state electricity board chairman P. Keshava Pillai in the graphite-electricity sale scandal for which both were convicted and sentenced to one year’s imprisonment.
Setting aside a trial court order that was upheld by the high court, an apex court bench of Justices R.C. Lahoti and Brijesh Kumar said neither did the accused receive any pecuniary benefit nor did the state electricity board suffer any loss due to supply of electricity to the Karnataka-based Graphite Industries Ltd.
The prosecution said that between October 1994 and August 1995, when Balakrishna was power minister, the state electricity board supplied 1,22,41,440 units of power to Graphite Industries Ltd at a cheaper price of 42 paise per unit resulting in pecuniary advantage of Rs 19.58 lakh to the company.
Besides a one-year imprisonment, the trial court imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 each on Balakrishna and Keshava. The high court had upheld the order.
The Supreme Court, however, said the deal was between the electricity boards of Karnataka and Kerala and that the minister and the chairman had not personally gained from it.