Opposes plea to split charges in Lavalin case

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday told its special court here that two of the accused in the SNC-Lavalin corruption case were “in fact interfering with the decision of the honourable court to secure the presence” of Klaus Triendel, former vice-president of the Canadian company and the sixth accused in the case.

In his petition, Additional Superintendent of Police, CBI, Chennai, Y. Harikumar identified the accused as Pinarayi Vijayan, former Power Minister and State secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), and Siddhartha Menon, former chairman of the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB).

The CBI requested the court to dismiss their plea to split charges and commence trial of those who had already answered the summons of the court “in view of the pending process of the extradition of A 6 (Klaus Triendel)”.

The agency also submitted that its special court had “never found that the presence of A 6 (Klaus Triendel) and A 9 (SNC-Lavalin) will not be secured or that they are absconding”.

The non-bailable warrant against Mr. Triendel could not be executed as he was a Canadian citizen. International law required the warrant to be executed through due process of extradition.

Mr. Triendel was a resident of house number 455, Rene-levesque Boulevard, West Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The CBI judge T.S.P. Moosad had initiated the extradition process with High Court sanction last year.

The Union Ministry of External Affairs had sent the extradition request to the International Assistance Group (IAG) of the Ministry of Justice, Government of Canada, in December 2011. The IAG has now requested for additional documents in respect of Mr. Triendel and submitted that the extradition request be sent in “two packages”.

The “packages” should contain a “record of the case, general legal statement supported by relevant documents and statements of witnesses with the certification of the trial court”.

The CBI would comply with the Canadian Government’s request and send another extradition request elaborating the “facts of the case”. It would support the request with “relevant documents and statements of witnesses” authenticated by the trial court.

The agency would submit the extradition request before its special court for “perusal and certification”. The request would include all the information sought by the Canadian Government.

The CBI also submitted that “only the foreign country can finally decide on the issue (of extraditing its citizen for trial in another country) even if the agency served the extradition request as per international agreements and provisions of the Extradition Act.

The CBI’s case was that the accused had hatched a criminal conspiracy among themselves and with the senior vice-president of SNC-Lavalin to award the contract to the Canadian company to renovate Pallivasal, Sengulam, and Panniar hydroelectric plants at a higher rate, thereby violating the law and causing a huge loss to the exchequer.

The CBI on June 11, 2009 had filed a charge sheet in its special court in Kochi arraigning the accused on charges of committing criminal conspiracy, cheating and violating the of Prevention of Corruption Act. The case was subsequently transferred to the CBI special court in Thiruvananthapuram.