March 24, 2018

SC sends notice to Kerala CM Vijayan in graft case

13 January 2018, 08:56 | Opal Carroll

The matter related to late 1990s when Pinarayi Vijayan was the power minister in Kerala

The matter related to late 1990s when Pinarayi Vijayan was the power minister in Kerala

India's top court Thursday issued notice to Chief Minister of southern Indian state of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan and two other accused in the SNC-Lavalin corruption case, officials said.

A Bench of Justices N.V. Ramana and Abdul Nazeer issued notice on the CBI appeal against the discharge of Mr. Vijayan, K. Mohanachandran, former principal secretary, Department of Power; and A. Francis, then joint secretary in the same department, by the Kerala High Court on August 23.

A day after controversy erupted over diverting funds meant for Ockhi relief for his travel, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday said there is nothing unusual about his helicopter trip. The SC has stayed the trial of accused Kasturi Ranga Iyer, R Sivadasan and R Rajasekharan. Vijayan along with other accused was acquitted by the Thiruvananthapuram special court earlier.

On November 5, 2013, a CBI court in the state capital exonerated all the accused, without taking up the case for trial.

"It is a matter of fact that there was ample material to prima facie show conspiracy in the matter, which may have been appreciated at the stage of trial only", it said.

As per the order, the cost of the journey was Rs.8 lakh.

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"We have not been discharged. Continuation of trial will be detrimental to us now", Mr. Rohatgi said.

Vijayan served as Kerala's electricity minister from 1996 to 1998.

Meanwhile, Pinarayi slammed the Central government, claiming that while the Centre allocated only '134 crore for Ockhi relief, the state could raise more or less the same amount from the public here. The total deal was worth Rs 374 crore and as per the contract sanctioned by the state cabinet, the company was supposed to provide a grant of Rs 98.30 crore to the Malabar Cancer Institute. In 2007 the Kerala High Court ordered a CBI inquiry into the case.

For several years since the alleged scam broke, it was the cause of much political discomfiture for Vijayan. The Chief Minister and the CPI-M can not absolve themselves now and it was a "naked misuse of power", he alleged.

KM Ambraham also said that there are three Ockhi-related funds viz. Ockhi Disaster Relief Fund, The Chief Minister's Relief Fund and the central fund.

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