High Court directs posting of Lavalin case to third week of February

Friday, Jan 15, 2016,18:15 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Kochi | Allowing Kerala government’s plea, the High Court today directed posting of the SNC-Lavlin graft case, in which CPI(M) leader Pinarayi Vijayan is one of the accused, for early hearing by the last week of February.
Justice P Ubaid gave this direction while considering the state government’s plea seeking an urgent hearing of a revision petition filed against a CBI court verdict acquitting Vijayan in the graft case.
The court said that even if much older revision petitions and appeals are pending consideration, being a matter of public importance, government’s request needs consideration.
Though counsel for accused, including Vijayan, pointed out that the state has no right to file such a petition and is ‘politically motivated’, the Court permitted hearing of the case by last week of February, 2016.
Director General of Prosecution T Asaf Ali had filed the plea for early posting of the hearing of the revision petition earlier this week.
Counsel for the accused also pointed out that it was Asaf Ali who had filed a PIL seeking a CBI probe into the graft case before he assumed office of the DGP.
CBI did not take a definite stand on early hearing of revision petition.
The revision plea challenging discharge of Vijayan and six others in the SNC Lavalin graft case was originally filed by one T P Nandakumar and CBI which had filed charge sheet in the case.
In its petition, CBI had said there was sufficient evidence to prove the charges against the accused.
The CBI special court in Thiruvananthapuram had in November 2013 discharged Vijayan and six others from the Rs 374.50 crore graft case.
The special judge had ruled that CBI had failed to prove the charges of conspiracy and corruption levelled against Vijayan and other accused.
The special court had stated that CBI had failed to establish the fraudulent intention, abuse of official position, criminal conspiracy and element of cheating in connection with the award of contract to Canadian firm SNC Lavalin for renovating three hydel projects in Kerala.
In its plea filed under Section 482 of CrPC, government said it has suffered heavy loss in the deal.
The losses suffered by the state of Kerala and Kerala State Electricity Board are very high. Procrastination tactics adopted by the accused in the case is to be viewed seriously. There is no justification in delaying the hearing of the case on one pretext or other. Hence the matter is urgent in nature, it had said.
Now the case assumes significance as Pinarayi Vijayan, who apparently considered to be the next Chief Minister if the left comes to power, started his election campaign today with a grand march from north to south in the state.