Acquittal of Pinarayi and others by CBI Special Court

The Kerala High Court on Monday adjourned to July 14 the hearing on two revision petitions against a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Court’s order discharging Communist Party of India (Marxist) State unit secretary Pinarayi Vijayan and other accused from the SNC-Lavalin corruption case.

The hearing was adjourned by Justice K. Ramakrishnan. The petitions were filed by the CBI and T.P. Nandakumar, Editor, Crime fortnightly, who was one of the witnesses in the case.

The CBI Special Court while discharging the accused, including Mr. Vijayan, had held that the CBI could not prove that any of the accused gained “pecuniary advantage” while awarding the contract to SNC-Lavalin, a Canadian company.

The CBI case was that Mr. Vijayan, while serving as Electricity Minister from May 1996 to October 1998, along with the other accused, had hatched a criminal conspiracy to award the supply contract for the renovation and modernisation of the Pallivasal, Sengulam, and Panniar hydroelectric projects to SNC-Lavalin at an exorbitant cost. The CBI further alleged that the Kerala State Electricity Board had entered into a memorandum of understanding without inviting tenders, violating all rules and regulations.

The revision petitioners contended that the Special Judge had made irrelevant findings without examining the incriminating material and documents furnished by the prosecution, which had established a strong prima facie case against the accused.

Subsidiary agreement

The petitioners further contended that the Special Court had considered the validity of a subsidiary agreement for providing grant to the Malabar Cancer Centre as a vital factor without looking into the allegation of “criminality” of the contract awarded to SNC-Lavalin.

The State government also sought to implead in the petitions.

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