The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday told the Supreme Court that Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan should face trial in the SNC-Lavalin corruption case.
The premier investigation agency said Mr. Vijayan had travelled to Canada as a “guest” of Lavalin in 1997. It was there, in Canada, he had made the "crucial" decision to promote Lavalin, which was a mere consultancy firm retained on fixed-rate basis, from consultants to suppliers. The corruption case concerns the loss of Rs. 86.25 crore in the Kerala State Electricity Board’s (KSEB) contract with Lavalin for the renovation and modernisation of the Pallivasai, Sengulam and Panniar hydroelectric projects of Kerala.
Mr. Vijayan was the State’s Power Minister then.
In 1995, Lavalin had only a memorandum of understanding with the State government. Consultancy agreements were signed on February 24, 1996. On February 10, 1997, the consultancy agreements were changed to full-fledged supply contracts “solely at the behest” of Mr. Vijayan, the CBI submitted in a 12-page affidavit in the Supreme Court.
It was during the same Canada visit that the proposal for construction of a cancer centre at Thalassery was mooted by Mr. Vijayan, the CBI submitted. The binding agreement with Lavalin for the construction of the Malabar Cancer Centre, worth Rs. 98.3 crore, eventually failed to materialise. The CBI said the decision of the Kerala High Court to discharge the Chief Minister was “not correct.” “SNC-Lavalin had obtained huge wrongful gains on account of the contracts awarded to them…Wilful omissions and commissions on the part of public servants provided the opportunity to SNC-Lavalin for deriving wrongful gain, causing corresponding loss to the KSEB,” the CBI submitted.
Work was awarded to Lavalin without inviting tenders for Rs. 243.74 crore. By the time it was completed, the costs had gone up to Rs. 374.5 crore. A criminal case was registered on February 12, 2007. The CBI filed its chargesheet on June 12, 2009.
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