KGB interfered in Lavalin case for Pinarayi?

via PNS | Thiruvananthapuram published on January 5, 2011

The Public Information Office (PIO) of the Supreme Court has admitted that Justice KG Balakrishnan, presently facing a plethora of allegations, had issued instruction to expedite the consideration of the petition of Kerala CPI(M) secretary Pinarayi Vijayan in the Rs 374.5-crore SNC Lavalin corruption case. Pinarayi is the seventh accused in the case.

In a reply given as per the Right to Information Act to Zulfikar Ali, a lawyer, Supreme Court’s Public Information Officer Rajpal Arora reportedly said that the hearing on Pinarayi’s petition was rescheduled for urgent orders or directions by the court Registrar based on the directive of Justice Balakrishnan, who was then Chief Justice.

The reply from the Supreme Court PIO said that the consideration of the petition could have been expedited only on the basis of a directive or instruction from the Chief Justice. Otherwise, petitions would be considered as per the prepared schedule only, a report quoted the apex court PIO as saying.

Pinarayi had filed the petition in the Supreme Court on August 31, 2009 challenging Kerala Governor RS Gavai’s act of permitting the CBI to prosecute him in the sensational corruption case. The CPI(M) secretary was power minister in Kerala when the controversial supply contract was signed with Canadian utility company SNC Lavalin in 1997.

The Supreme Court PIO, however, had not answered the specific question whether Pinarayi or anyone else had submitted any application requesting early consideration of the petition. According to legal experts, this could mean that no such application had come for the consideration of the apex court.

However, facing a question pointed at the court’s decision to expedite reschedule the petition, Justice Balakrishnan had on May 10 last year said in a TV interview that he had only referred the case to another senior judge of the court as it was improper for his to handle a case related to Kerala, thus creating a feeling that he had not interfered in the affair.

According to sources, Justice Balakrishnan’s daughter KB Sony, wife of former Kerala Youth Congress vice-president PV Sreenijin who on Wednesday resigned from the outfit following allegations that he had amassed illegal wealth, was a staff member with the Delhi-based law firm that had filed the petition in the Supreme Court for Pinarayi.

That Justice Balakrishnan had interfered in the SNC Lavalin case for Pinarayi Vijayan was one of the several allegations mentioned in the petition Delhi-based M Furquan had submitted to Vice-President Hamid Ansari and others against Justice Balakrishnan. This issue is still under the consideration of the Kochi unit of the CBI.

Meanwhile, Justice VR Krishna Iyer, former Supreme Court judge and the first legal expert in Kerala to call for a probe by a three-man judicial panel against Justice Balakrishnan accused the CPI(M) of adopting criminal silence over the allegations against the former CJI. “It is highly improper to remain silent on such matters for a party like the CPI(M),” he said in Kochi.

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