Revision plea against discharge of Pinarayi

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday filed a revision petition in the Kerala High Court against the verdict of the Thiruvananthapuram CBI Special Court discharging CPI(M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan and the other accused in the SNC-Lavalin corruption case.

The special court, while discharging them, 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 Lavalin at an exorbitant cost.

The CBI further alleged that the KSEB had entered into an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) without inviting tenders, violating rules and regulations.

In its revision petition, the CBI said by discharging Mr.Vijayan and extending the benefit of the discharge order to the other accused, who had not even filed discharge petitions, the special court had abused its authority.

The special court had erred by considering “irrelevant factors like interpretation of the contract awarded in the light of a civil liability cost on parties while subduing the dishonest criminal intention manifest and explicit in the deal from documents and other incriminating material produced from the side of prosecution”.

The petition pointed out that the special court went wrong in proceeding to consider the validity of the subsidiary agreement to provide grant to the Malabar Cancer Centre as a vital factor without considering the allegation regarding the criminality of the contract awarded, dishonestly and fraudulent, at the behest of the accused in violation of the accepted procedure and rules.

‘Clandestine dealing’

The CBI said it had been established that Mr. Vijayan, who had full knowledge about the “clandestine dealing, in connivance and collusion with the other accused, fraudulently and dishonestly favoured in extending undue benefit and favour to SNC-Lavalin and for that matter entered into a non-binding MoU with SNC-Lavalin under a shadowy reciprocity to establish the MCC as an eye-washing procedure to make it appear as promoting public interest”.

The special court had failed to examine the documents which prima facie caused strong suspicion.

The other accused discharged along with Mr. Vijayan were former Principal Secretary (Power) K. Mohanachandran; KSEB former member (Accounts) K.G. Rajasekharan Nair; KSEB former Chairman R. Sivadasan; former Chief Engineer (Generation) M. Kasthuriranga Iyer; KSEB former Chairman Siddhartha Menon; and former joint secretary (Power) A. Francis.

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