Files petition before CBI Special Court

“Lavalin deal concluded during Antony’s tenure”

G. Karthikeyan was Power Minister then, he says

KOCHI: Kerala secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Pinarayi Vijayan submitted before a CBI Special Court here on Thursday that all allegations levelled against him in the SNC-Lavalin case could be proved wrong if the former Kerala Chief Minister and present Union Defence Minister, A.K. Antony, was questioned.

Mr. Vijayan is the seventh accused in the case relating to awarding the renovation and modernisation of three hydroelectric projects in Kerala to Canadian company SNC-Lavalin at “a higher rate violating the rules and regulations and normal procures.” According to the CBI chargesheet, the failure to get a binding agreement executed by the company for ensuring a grant for setting up the proposed Malabar Cancer Centre at Thalassery had caused a loss of Rs. 86.25 crore.

“A necessary witness”

In a petition filed through his counsel, Mr. Vijayan said Mr. Antony was “a necessary and material witness to be questioned because it was during his tenure that the MoU was signed and the contracts were concluded with SNC-Lavalin. Also, it was during Mr. Antony’s tenure that the MoU got lapsed. Mr. Vijayan said that if Mr. Antony was questioned, it would come to light that the PSP (Pallivasal, Sengulam and Panniyar) project was distinct and different.

Mr. Vijayan said the CBI did not probe the facts that took place before he assumed office as Power Minister and after he demitted office in 1998. In fact, the consultancy contracts were concluded in February 1996 during the tenure of G. Karthikeyan as Electricity Minister. The petitioner was not a Minister when the MoU and the agreement for the PSP project were signed in 1995 and in 1996 respectively.

The hearing on the petition was adjourned to enable the CBI to file its objections, if any.