Lavalin case: Kerala CM hits out at Congress

24 Aug 2017

A day after the high court exonerated him in the SNC Lavalin graft case, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan today alleged that the CBI had filed the case against him "under pressure from the Congress party to hunt the CPI(M) and tarnish its image". "The effort was to propagate that I am a corrupt person and hunt the CPI(M) through me," he told the Assembly while replying to a notice for an adjournment motion moved by the opposition, the Congress-led UDF, in connection with the appointment of members in the Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child RightsExplaining the chronology of events related to the case, Vijayan said a vigilance probe ordered by the then UDF government in the state had found nothing incriminating to include his name in the case. However, he added that the UDF government still recommended a CBI probe into the case, a few days before the polls were declared in 2006. Initially, the CBI had also arrived at the same conclusion as that of the state Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau, Vijayan said.  But, as the Left parties withdrew support to the then Congress-led UPA government at the Centre, the chief minister claimed that he was named as an accused in the case "as per the desire of the Congress". "I was made an accused in the case because of the political vendetta of the Congress as the Left parties had withdrawn their support to the then UPA government," he said.  However, Vijayan added that he never had any apprehension about the final outcome of the case.  "I had no apprehension. Now, the truth has won," he said.
The chief minister said the verdict had given him more energy to implement welfare measures and development works in the state. Yesterday, the Kerala High Court upheld the verdict of the CBI court, Thiruvananthapuram, discharging the chief minister from the case and observed that the "CBI had wrongly picked Pinarayi Vijayan without any material in the case". The case relates to the awarding of a contract to Canadian company SNC Lavalin for the renovation of three hydel projects -- Sengulam, Pallivasal and Panniyar -- when Vijayan was the power minister in the then E K Nayanar cabinet between 1996 and 1998.(PTI)