While the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court here Tuesday gave a clean chit to CPI-M state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan and six others in the SNC Lavalin corruption case, the Congress party in Kerala expects the CBI will go in for an appeal.
Reacting to the verdict, Congress state chief Ramesh Chennithala expressed surprise at the clean chit given to Vijayan.
“The verdict is quite unnatural and since this is a corruption case, those concerned should go in for an appeal because corruption cannot be buried,” he said.
The CBI filed charge sheets against nine accused in the Rs.374-crore scam related to the Canada-based SNC Lavalin company in June 2009.
CBI Special Court Judge R. Reghu termed the CBI’s charge sheet baseless and accepted Vijayan’s discharge petition.
Vijayan was on bail when the court order came.
Vijayan, as the state power minister in the Left Front government, inked the final agreement with SNC Lavalin in 1997 for renovating three power plants in the state.
He was arraigned as the seventh accused in court. He, however, approached the CBI court with a discharge petition, saying he has done no wrong.
In its statement to the special court, the premier investigating agency said Vijayan made a trip to Canada to finalise the agreement but no expert accompanied him.
The CBI also pointed out that Vijayan went ahead with the agreement despite being cautioned against doing so by the then power secretary.
Vijayan’s arch rival in the party, V.S. Achuthanandan, however, said with the court now clearing his party colleague, all what he said earlier on this issue is no longer valid. Achuthanandan lost his party politburo seat on account of the open tiff he had with Vijayan on the Lavalin case by going public against his party’s stand on the case.
“I accept the verdict of the court,” said Achuthanandan to reporters here. State Bharatiya Janata Party president V. Muraleedharan said this verdict was obtained through a joint operation between the Congress and the CPI-M, as the Lok Sabha polls are round the corner.
As soon as the verdict came out, the CPI-M state party headquarters looked a crowded place and Vijayan said finally the organised haunting against him has come to an end.
“The truth has finally come out and truth alone will triumph,” said Vijayan. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said he would react to this later.