The Supreme Court on Monday stayed a Madras High Court order allowing the Central Bureau of Investigation to conduct inquires into allegations against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami that he illegally awarded road construction contracts to his relatives, IANS reported.

Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph also issued a notice to Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam parliamentarian RS Bharathi, who filed the petition accusing Palaniswami of misusing his official position. Palaniswami’s counsel CA Sundaram contended that the High Court had made a mistake by passing the order without issuing him a notice and giving him a chance to defend himself.

In July, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam President MK Stalin submitted a memorandum to Governor Banwarilal Purohit demanding an investigation into the allegations. The ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam said the accusations were “baseless and unfounded”.

The Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption, which was investigating the case, submitted a report to the court in September. It said there was no prima facie evidence against Palaniswami.

CM leading a government of corruption: Stalin

Meanwhile, Stalin on Monday claimed that Palaniswami was leading a government of “corruption, commission and collection” and was afraid of facing the public in the local body elections and bye-polls, PTI reported.

Referring to corruption charges against Palaniswami and a few other ministers, Stalin said: “They know for sure that they have no chance of getting re-elected and hence are indulging in corruption.”

Stalin, who spoke at a function in Nagapattinam district, accused the state Election Commission of delaying the electoral process despite the Madras High Court’s directions regarding local body elections.

“When bye-poll dates to Thiruvarur and Thirparankundam assembly constituencies were to be announced, the chief secretary wrote to the Election Commission of India, requesting for postponement, citing the coming monsoon as the reason,” said the DMK chief. “All these actions clearly show that the government is afraid of facing the people through the democratic electoral process.”