The CPI(M) said its Kerala State Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, whom the CBI plans to prosecute in the SNC Lavalin case, had been cleared by a 2006 vigilance enquiry in the same case. The then UDF government in Kerala had signed the MoU with the Canadian firm SNC Lavalin in 1995 for modernisation of power projects and the Minister then was G Karthikeyan of the Congress, the party said.
The Oomen Chandy government was"unhappy"with the February 2006 vigilance report and had decided to hand the case over to the CBI, the party said in a statement in New Delhi.The decision was then opposed by the CPI(M), which had described it as"a patently political move"as it had come just ahead of the assembly elections at that time.
"The vigilance report specifically cleared Vijayan of any wrongdoing as Minister of Electricity. The report also notes that the original MoU signed on August 10, 1995, was not based on any feasibility report and the subsequent consultancy agreements signed on February 24, 1996 were also based on a dubious feasibility report. "The UDF was in power and the Minister of Electricity was G Karthikeyan of the Congress party,"the statement said. Observing that"the use of central investigating agencies by the ruling party for political purposes should be a matter of serious public concern", the CPI(M) two days ago said"now with the advent of the Lok Sabha polls, once again the case is being proceeded with.
Pinarayi Vijayan, while speaking at a meeting organised by the Kerala Secretariat Employees Association, said that for long, the CPI-M and its leaders have been targeted to weaken them. “The Communists have been targeted from within the country and also from abroad. There was a conspiracy hatched in the USA to topple the first elected Communist government in the world under E.M.S. Namboodiripad. Many such attempts have not been able to weaken our party,” he said.
Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac has denied that the controversial contract with SNC Lavalin has caused a huge drain on the State exchequer. Isaac said the State was claimed to have suffered a huge loss from the contract because the expected increase in power generation did not materialise after the renovation and modernisation of the Panniyar, Pallivasal and Shenkulam hydroelectric projects in the year of implementation and the succeeding year. Attributing this to poor rainfall during those years, he said power generation from these projects had now exceeded what was envisaged.
If the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) finding of a criminal conspiracy on the part of former Electricity Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had been true, Congress leader G. Karthikeyan, who had been Electricity Minister in the previous United Democratic Front (UDF) government, should have been the first accused because the projects had been started by that government.
Co-operation Minister G. Sudhakaran said that Vijayan has been targeted and framed by a section of the state Congress leaders, while Industries Minister Elamaram Kareem claimed Vijayan has been attacked to weaken the CPI-M at the national level.
Source - Hindu