Lavalin case: Pinarayi refuses to comment

via published on January 22, 2009

T’PURAM: CPI (M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan today refused to comment on the media reports that the CBI has finalized charges in a 12-year-old graft case, in which he is also accused.

‘Let everything come out, now I have nothing to say,’ Vijayan said, as media persons approached him after he inaugurated a trade union march here.

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) had found irregularities in the contract with SNC Lavalin of Canada for the renovation and modernization of the Pallivassal, Chengulam and Panniyar hydro-electric projects in Idukki district.

Vijayan, as state electricity minister in 1997, had awarded the contract to SNC Lavalin.

The state high court January 2007 ordered a CBI probe into the case.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the CPI-M secretariat was held here and reports indicate that it was decided to deal with the issue politically.

What surprised many was that even though the CBI did not name any of the accused yesterday and just filed a progress report on the investigation at the Kerala High Court, it was state Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan who announced that Vijayan’s name figured in the charge sheet.

Speaking at a public meeting held last night here, he alleged that this was a ploy by the centre to trap Vijayan because the CPI-M withdrew support to the United Progressive Alliance government last year.

The minister said that the CBI has now sought sanction for prosecution.

Reacting to this, leader of opposition Oommen Chandy told reporters that Balakrishnan has committed a breach of his oath and the Constitution by saying this.

‘As he is the Home Minister and one responsible for the prosecution, he is not supposed to go public. Right from the start of the investigation, the CPI-M was behaving in a manner that they fear something,’ he said.

BJP state unit president P K Krishnadas told reporters, ‘Now things have become very clear and it is best that Vijayan step down from his post.’

‘The CPI-M politburo should ask Vijayan to step down and they should apologise to the people of the state,’ he said.

Meanwhile, in another related development that has raised a lot of eyebrows is the sudden trip of Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan to Delhi this afternoon.

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