Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has confirmed receipt of a letter from the Governor seeking an early decision on the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) request for permission to prosecute the accused in the SNC Lavalin case and said that he has forwarded it to the Advocate-General (AG) for appropriate action.

Participating in a meet-the-press organised by the Kesari Memorial Journalists’ Trust here on Sunday, Mr. Achuthanandan said he had also spoken to the Advocate-General over phone and asked him to take necessary steps without delay. The SNC Lavalin case, he said, was as important as other corruption cases the State had witnessed so far. Although he seemed to imply that the accused in the Lavalin case would be punished, his office, later, clarified that what he had meant was that all those found guilty in corruption cases would be punished.

“The accused in all such cases have the right to claim that they are innocent till they are found guilty by the courts,” he said. Mr. Achuthanandan pointed out that the stand of the judiciary was crucial in such matters and nobody could decide the pace at which such cases would be disposed of.

In the Lavalin case itself, the High Court had given three months’ time for granting permission for prosecution of the accused when the question could have been decided in a week or a month. “You or I cannot do anything in the matter,” he said and pointed out that the media were interested only in creating the impression that a war had broken out once again in the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

He urged the media not to forget that he had himself been fighting other equally important cases such as the palmolein case and the Edamalayar case on his own for the last several years.