Kerala Chief Minister Must Be Tried For Graft, CBI To Tell Supreme Court

Kerala Chief Minister Must Be Tried For Graft, CBI To Tell Supreme Court


Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has reason to feel major end-of-year blues. The CBI is ready to move the Supreme Court to challenge his acquittal in a corruption case dating back to the 90s, NDTV has learnt. Just days ago, he was forced to nudge a minister to resign after he was indicted for illegally appropriating land - it was the third exit from his cabinet in Mr Vijayan's one and a half years in power.

Documents seen by NDTV prepared by the Law Ministry suggest that the CBI has a strong case in challenging the Kerala High Court which in August said that the agency had failed to offer any evidence of the Chief Minister's collusion in an alleged swindle when he was the coastal state's Power Minister.

The "SNC-Lavalin case" is named after a Canadian firm that was chosen in 1998 to repair three major hydroelectric projects at a cost of about 375 crores.

The Left-led coalition government that Mr Vijayan was a part of was succeeded by a Congress-led coalition, which then said that the contract had been assigned without any transparent bidding and was exorbitantly priced to benefit the Canadian company.

The CBI was then asked to investigate the case.

In 2013, a court said there was no evidence of a conspiracy engineered by Mr Vijayan. The same stand was taken by the Kerala High Court three months ago. After the High Court ruled in his favour over three months ago, Mr Vijayan, who is 73, said, "There has been a constant witch-hunt against me."

His party, the CPM, has said the centre is extending its tradition of misusing the CBI to punish its political opponents by framing fake cakes against them. 

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