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I’ll adhere to Constitution: Achuthanandan

Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala Chief Minister and CPI(M) Polit Bureau member V.S. Achuthanandan on Wednesday said he was carrying out his constitutional duties in the SNC Lavalin corruption case, in which party State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan is an accused.

Addressing the media after a Cabinet meeting here, he said that only the issue of sanction for prosecution of the former Principal Secretary (Power) K. Mohanachandran, and the former Joint Secretary (Power), A. Francis, came up before the Cabinet. The Law Department was asked to examine the legal aspects of the CBI request for their prosecution. Other matters (such as the permission to prosecute Mr. Vijayan) were not before the government.

Asked whether the case was politically motivated, as alleged by his party, Mr. Achuthanandan said he had already stated the matter was under examination. “I have said what I should be saying as a person subject to constitutional obligations. I am carrying out my constitutional obligations. And I will act only in accordance with the Constitution.”

To another question, Mr. Achuthanandan said he had nothing to say about the allegation that some Ministers and the party were trying to challenge the rule of law.

“Wrong contract”

The Central Bureau of Investigation, in a report to the Kerala High Court and the CBI special court in Kochi earlier this month, accused Mr. Vijayan and 10 others of wrongly awarding a contract for renovation of three hydroelectric projects to the Canadian company SNC Lavalin 12 years ago.

Mr. Vijayan was Electricity Minister when the contract was awarded through negotiation, with an understanding that the company would arrange for funding of the Malabar Cancer Centre. However, it did not mobilise the promised funds and the Comptroller and Auditor-General found irregularities in the contract.

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