So “C” in CPM means corruption?

via By Arun Laxman - published on February 9, 2009

Politburo strains to shield scam-tainted party state secretary.
CM threatens to resign rather than defending him. Split wide open.

The CPI-M is in a spot over the Rs 374.5 crore SNC Lavalin case with
the party politburo member and Kerala state secretary of the party
Pinarayi Vijayan being charge sheeted by the CBI as the ninth accused
in the case. The issues related to the case originated when the LDF
government led by EK Nayanar decided to sign an MoU with the Canadian
company SNC Lavalin for the maintenance of Panniyar, Sengulam and
Pallivasal hydro electric projects.

The charge is that the company has not properly conducted the
maintenance work for the amount they had claimed and that it has also
not provided the money which it had promised to the multi-crore cancer
hospital coming up in Thalassery, the hometown of Vijayan. Vijayan was
then the power minister in the Nayanar cabinet of 1996.

According to the report of the Accountant General the deal has
resulted in a loss of the exchequer’s money. The UDF government had
initiated a CBI probe into the same after the state vigilance had
cleared Vijayan and the other accused. The CBI had taken over the
investigation following the directive of the Kerala High Court on the
basis of a PIL filed by the editor of the Crime newspaper TP
Nandakumar. The CBI has charge sheeted eleven persons in the case with
the then power secretary Mohanachandran as the first accused and the
CPI-M leader and former minister Pinarayi Vijayan as the ninth accused.
There were allegations that the Canadian company has promised
assistance to the cancer hospital in Thalassery. But there are clear
indications that the money earmarked for the cancer hospital project
was siphoned off and the CBI had also conducted primary enquiry into
this allegation and sources indicated that this was also a major

The charge sheeting of Vijayan in the case has opened up a
Pandora’s box in the state politics with the opposition Congress and
the BJP demanding the removal of Vijayan from the post of the CPI-M
state secretary and calling upon the LDF government to advise the
governor to recommend on the prosecution of Pinarayi Vijayan. The group
war in the CPI-M which was hitherto in the silence following the
ruthless majority enjoyed by the official faction of the CPI-M has once
again resurfaced with banners and posters depicting Vijayan as an agent
of the bourgeoisie has appeared throughout the state and surprisingly
even in the CPI-M bastions of Kannur and Kasargod. According to
political observers demand for the removal of Vijayan from the post of
party secretary is active in the grassroots of the CPI-M with the party
cadres openly demanding his removal in even the communist heartland of
Kannur where the CPI-M is enjoying a massive majority and is using its
goonda squads to physically annihilate the political opponents of the
party with several RSS and BJP cadres and leaders getting killed or
maimed for life in this CPI-M red bastion. The CPI-M of the state has
been facing reverses ever since the Achuthanandan government has
assumed office and the CPI-M has tasted defeat at the hands of rebels
in several parts of the state with the party even losing power in
Ottapalam municipality to the party rebels who were expelled following
their refusal to toe the corrupt line of the present leadership.

The Chief Minister Achuthanandan who is silently trying to
emerge as Mr Clean of the CPI-M in the state had flown to Delhi even as
the CBI had charge sheeted Vijayan and sources in the party told this
correspondent that the Chief Minister had demanded the party general
secretary Prakash Karat’s intervention to remove Vijayan from the post.
Sources close to Chief Minister said that Achuthanandan had
categorically told the PB that he would wait only for a few more days
and that he cannot in no way support the decision to reinstate Vijayan
even after the premier investigating agency of the country has charge
sheeted him in a multicrore deal.

The Chief Minister according to sources has maintained that
all his fights against corruption would become a farce if he does not
take a strong position to remove Vijayan. However the party official
faction which is enjoying a massive majority in all elected party
positions is in no mood to relent and has categorically ruled out any
decision from the PB to remove the beleaguered party secretary. In fact
the party has decided to defend Vijayan by throwing its weight against
him and to conduct massive programmes in the grassroot levels to prove
his innocence.

The CPI-M has also charged the ruling Congress party in the
centre with having influenced the CBI to frame the CPI-M state
secretary as the general elections are in the threshold and the CPI-M
is the major opponent of the Congress in the state. The CPI-M which has
already started using its information network to spread this across the
state. However there are clear indications that the CPI-M would be
cornered in this deal as sources have indicated that the CBI has gone
ahead with the case meticulously and in a step by step manner.

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