Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan got big relief today from Kerala High Court when it rejected CBI petition challenging the sessions court order discharging him in the SNC Lavlin case. The case has been haunting Kerala Chief Minister for almost two decades.
Vijayan was ninth accused in the case.
Senior Supreme Court lawyer Harish Salve appeared for Pinarayi in the court.
The court however said Kerala State Electricity Board officials who were accused in the original CBI charge sheet should face trial in the case.
The court criticised CBI and said it politically targeted Pinarayi Vijayan.
The HC judge has also said that the court received an anonymous letter during the trial.
Pinarayi Vijayan approached the trial court demanding quashing of the charge sheet. In 2013, CBI court accepted Vijayan’s demand and quashed the charge sheet. The court held that there was no material to prove that Vijayan had made any pecuniary advantage in the case. This cleared the way before Vijayan and he became the Chief Minister after LDF victory.
The CBI filed case against the former Electricity Minister for hatching a criminal conspiracy to award supply contract for the renovation and modernisation of the Pallivasal, Sengulam, and Panniar hydroelectric projects to SNC-Lavalin at an exorbitant cost.
The CBI also claimed that Vijayan, who was Electricity Minister from May 1996 to October 1998, entered into a memorandum of understanding without inviting tenders, violating rules, and regulations.
However, the special court later discharged Vijayan from the case as the CBI was unable to prove that any of the accused gained “pecuniary advantage” while awarding the contract to the Canadian company.
The CBI had argued that Vijayan, who had full knowledge of the “clandestine dealing and in connivance and collusion with the other accused, fraudulently and dishonestly favoured in extending undue benefit and favour to SNC-Lavalin.