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SC Issues Notice to Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan in SNC-Lavalin Corruption Case

By: Utkarsh Anand

Edited By: Puja Menon

CNN-News18

Last Updated: January 11, 2018, 11:45 IST

File photo of Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan.

File photo of Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan.

Agreeing to hear the CBI’s appeal, a bench headed by Justice NV Ramana sought a reply from Vijayan and other accused in the case, who have been let off.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday issued a notice to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the SNC-Lavalin corruption case.

Agreeing to hear the CBI’s appeal, a bench headed by Justice NV Ramana sought a reply from Vijayan and other accused in the case, who have been let off.

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, said this was a case that required an interference by the top court and that the notices must go to all the accused.

The court accepted the CBI’s plea and issued notices, returnable in 4 weeks.

The bench also stayed the trial in this case, which would have been conducted in respect of other accused in this case.

Three other accused, who still have to stand the trial in this case, has also moved the court and the bench said it will hear all matters together.

On Wednesday, a bench headed by Justice NV Ramana, during the brief hearing, expressed displeasure over requests for repeated adjournment.

"You mention this matter before the Chief Justice for listing and then seek adjournment...this is not done," the judge told the lawyers, who represented some of the other accused in this case.

Representing the CBI, senior advocate Geeta Luhtra, however, requested the matter be heard on Thursday or day after, after which the Court fixed Thursday for hearing.

CBI had moved against Vijayan's discharge by the Kerala High Court in the SNC-Lavalin corruption case.

The criminal case concerns the renovation and refurbishment of three hydroelectric projects — the Pallivasal, Sengulam and Panniar projects — and contracts/transactions between the Kerala State Electricity Board and SNC Lavalin, a Canadian entity.

The HC had noted Vijayan cannot be prosecuted in the absence of “strong and definite material and circumstances to show that he had some sort of unholy nexus with the SNC Lavalin or the other accused".

But the CBI has alleged that Vijayan, who was then Kerala Electricity Minister, wrongly entered into contracts with SNC Lavalin in February 1997 without any expert feasibility study or technical reports.

It had alleged that there was neither any global tender called for the projects nor fixation of rates.

It has pointed out that Vijayan and two others were exonerated in the case without a clear finding to point out the reasons for their discharge. The CBI said its chargesheet pointed to a collective responsibility of all the accused persons, including Vijayan.

first published:January 11, 2018, 11:45 IST
last updated:January 11, 2018, 11:45 IST