In a relief to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami, the Supreme Court on Monday put a freeze on the Madras High Court's decision to order a CBI probe into the graft allegations against him.
Two weeks ago, the High Court had ordered the probe into corruption allegations in the allotment of highway contracts. The Vigilance department, which probed the allegations and gave a clean chit to the Chief Minister, were asked to hand over the files to the CBI.
Both the Chief Minister and the Directorate of Vigilance moved the Supreme Court, challenging the order.
During Monday's hearing, Mr Palaniswami's lawyer Ariyama Sundaram contended that the High Court had not even issued a notice to his client before ordering a CBI probe on the petition filed by a lawmaker of the opposition DMK.
Appearing for the petitioner, Kapil Sibal argued that "all the relatives" of the chief minister won the tenders floated by the Public Works Department (PWD) and pressed for a probe.
Monday's Supreme Court order is a reprieve for the chief minister as the opposition has stepped up attacks against him for leading a government of "corruption, commission and collection".
Speaking at a function in Tamil Nadu's Nagapattinam district, DMK chief MK Stalin referred to the corruption charges against the chief minister and his colleagues.
"They know for sure that they have no chance of getting re-elected" and hence were indulging in corruption, he said.
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