The Kerala Government has undertaken the LIFE Mission Project, which is a flagship housing project involving the construction of apartments for the homeless. Allegations of corruption and violation of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 (FCRA) were made against the award of construction to a certain company, 'Unitac' and certain officials involved in the Project over the receipt of a foreign contribution from the UAE. A CBI probe was an issue to investigate the case, however, a plea was filed before a single judge bench of Kerala High Court by the CEO of the Project, Santosh Eappen, challenging the CBI probe.
The petition was rejected by the court. However, while deciding the petition, the court observed that the CBI and FIR also included certain government officials who too had allegations of corruption. Addressing this allegation, the court observed that the crime must have been committed in furtherance of the MoU in the interest of evading audit and kickbacks and noted that such elaborate planning would require the skills of higher officials. Further, the court stated that though the Project was based on a policy decision taken by the state, the political actors of the state would not directly become liable for the crime merely by the reason that the policy was framed by them. It was explained that the executive of State consisted of political and non-political executives. Political executives are those responsible for framing the policy and non-political executives are those responsible for the efficient and lawful implementation of the policy. Hence, it was observed that liability arising due to actions of non-political actors leading to a wrongful implementation of the policy will not extend the liability to the political executives. Provided that, the political executive did not have notice of the misuse and legal implications arising thereof or has not obtained any personal benefit as a result of the misdeed or knowledge of such a misdeed.