Vigilance gave no clean chit to Pinarayi: Verma

via By Arjun Raghunath @ www.expressbuzz.com published on February 4, 2009

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a major embarrassment to those who have been making all-out efforts to defend CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, it has come to light that the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) had not given a clean chit to Pinarayi in the SNC-Lavalin scam.

VACB former director Upendra Verma, who is now settled in Bhopal, confirmed this to The New Indian Express over telephone.

However, he refused to disclose further details of the Vigilance probe.

Ever since the CBI exposure of Pinarayi’s involvement in the SNC-Lavalin scam, a section in the CPM had been claiming that the Vigilance inquiry into the scam had revealed that Pinarayi Vijayan had not indulged in corruption.

Contrary to this, it has come to light that the preliminary inquiry report of the VACB had not mentioned that Pinarayi was not involved in the corruption. It has only mentioned that prima facie, there had been evidence of corruption against eight persons arraigned as accused in the First Information Report (FIR).

Though Pinarayi was not among the eight, the Vigilance report, which was submitted to the then UDF Government, suggested a detailed probe into the incident and if involvement of more persons were figured in further probe, they would be arraigned as accused in due course.

“Pinarayi Vijayan was not among the eight arraigned as accused. But that does not mean that his involvement in the case would not have come up in the detailed probe,” said an official who was in the VACB team that probed the case.

“Moreover, the preliminary inquiry was conducted within a short span of three to four months. Hence, it could not be considered as an indepth one,” he opined. It may be recalled that the VACB could not proceed with further probe as the UDF Government decided to seek a CBI investigation.

KSEB former chairman and power secretary K. Mohanachandran, former chairmen of KSEB Siddhartha Menon and R. Sivadasan, KSEB former members K.G. Rajasekharan Nair, R. Gopalakrishnan and Mathew Roy, KSEB former chief engineer Kasthuri Ranga Iyer and SNC-Lavalin senior vice-president Klaus Trindel were those arraigned as accused in the FIR filed by the then Kottayam Vigilance SP A.R. Prathapan at the Thrissur Vigilance Court in February 2006.

The role of former KSEB chairman and power secretary late V. Rajagopalan was also mentioned in the FIR. But he was not an accused in the case.

The accused were charged with entering into a criminal conspiracy for awarding the renovation and modernisation works of Pallivasal, Chenkulam and Panniyar power projects to the SNC-Lavalin overlooking the procedures, thereby earning undue pecuniary advantage to the company and causing loss to the State exchequer.

The FIR also said that though the SNC-Lavalin had assured an assistance of Rs 98.3 crore to the Malabar Cancer Centre, only Rs 12.05 crore was received.

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