Says the trial cannot be split and it cannot be commenced first

The SNC-Lavalin case trial cannot be split and the trial against CPI(M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan and the other accused cannot be commenced first, according to a statement filed by the CBI before the Kerala High Court.

It said the process of extradition of former vice-president of SNC Lavalin Klaus Triendl and the other accused was still under way.

The statement was filed in response to a petition filed by Mr. Vijayan seeking a directive to conduct early trial in the case after splitting the trial.

In a statement, the CBI said summons of the trial court had not been served on SNC Lavalin and Mr. Triendl.

The extradition request of Mr. Triendl was yet to be considered by the Government of Canada. Therefore, it could not be concluded that both the accused were absconding and that Mr. Triendl could not be extradited within a reasonable time, warranting the splitting of the trial against them at this stage.

As the extradition request was still pending against Mr. Triendl, it would not be a fit case to split the trial. A decision by the Canadian government on the request would not be indefinite as feared by the petitioner though a specific timeline could not be furnished at this stage.

The CBI said the prosecution had a strong case against all the accused, including the petitioner. It had through documentary, oral and circumstantial evidence established the charges levelled against the accused.

The prosecution had been taking sincere, earnest, and prompt measures to execute the warrant against Mr. Triendl. The statement said there had been no ulterior motive on the part of the prosecution to delay the trial.

In his petition, Mr. Vijayan challenged a Thiruvananthapuram CBI Special Court order rejecting his pleas for splitting the case and commencing the trial at the earliest by excluding SNC Lavalin and Mr. Triendl.

Mr. Vijayan sought an early trial on the ground that even after more than three years of filing the charge sheet.

He alleged that the CBI was trying to delay the trial indefinitely “at the dictates of its political masters in the Central government” as the agency was convinced that the trial would end up in the acquittal of the petitioner.

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