KERALA

`Threats will not stall Lavalin probe'

Issue will not be taken up as a political weapon: Chandy

Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Veiled threats will not discourage the Government from taking to its logical conclusion the Vigilance probe into the SNC Lavalin deal, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said here on Wednesday.

Responding to a question whether he was going slow on the Vigilance probe fearing retribution if the power equations were to change after the next elections, Mr. Chandy said his Government would not give in to such threats.

He said the Government did not want to use the Lavalin issue as a political weapon.

The Government would not allow the guilty to escape either.

Asked why the probe into the alleged irregularities/corruption in the deal between the Kerala State Electricity Board and the Canadian company SNC Lavalin for the renovation and modernisation of the hydel projects at Pallivasal, Sengulam and Panniar had been dragging of for more than two years, Mr. Chandy said, "Yes, there are complaints that the investigation is not progressing. The bottlenecks will be removed."

He said the tardy progress of the probe also showed that the Government was not taking any `extra interest' in the case (just because certain political adversaries were involved in the deal). "There has also been no effort on the part of the Government to delay the probe," he added.

He said the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) might have taken only five months to complete the performance audit on the deal.

The CAG's work involved a study of the records pertaining to the subject, but the Vigilance had to look at the case from many other angles also, he said.

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