Lavalin: Plea to name Kodiyeri as accused

via PNS | Kochi published on May 5, 2011

A petition was filed in the Special CBI Court in Kochi on Thursday seeking orders to name State Home Minister and CPI(M) Politbureau member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan in the Rs 374.5-crore SNC Lavalin corruption case. Kerala CPI(M) secretary Pinarayi Vijayan is seventh accused in the case which is being probed by the CBI.

Kodiyeri was a member of the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) which had given approval for the Rs 374.5-crore supply contract given to Canadian utility company SNC Lavalin for renovation of three hydel projects in the State without inviting global tenders. Pinarayi was the power minister in the LDF government of that period.

Petitioner TP Nandakumar, editor of ‘Crime’ magazine, wanted then finance minister T Sivadasa Menon, presently a member of the State CPI(M) secretariat, also to be named an accused in the case. The petitioner argued in the plea that the contract could not have been become operational without the approval of the Department of Finance headed by Menon.

In the petition, Nandakumar pointed out that Kodiyeri was a member of the KSE Board which had decided to award the multicrore contract to the Canadian company. All other members in that board had either been named as accused or witnesses in the case but Kodiyeri was left out as he had become Home Minister by the time the investigations started, it said.

The petitioner said that there should be a proper investigation to find out the exact role of Kodiyeri in the finalization and approval of the contract on the basis of the minutes of the crucial board meetings. There are a total of nine accused in the case presently and the CBI is still trying to find out whether Congress leader and former minister G Karthikeyan had any role in the case.

The case pertains to a Rs 374.5-crore supply contract signed between the KSEB and SNC Lavalin in 1997 for the renovation of Panniyar, Chenkulam and Pallivasal hydro-electric power stations. A CAG report presented to the Kerala Assembly in February, 2006 said that the State exchequer had effectively lost the entire contract amount through the corrupt contract.

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