Kerala HC notes displeasure in CBI probe on SNC Lavalin case

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Kochi, Sep 18 (UNI) The Kerala High Court today expressed displeasure over the CBI investigation into the SNC Lavalin case and directed the agency to produce the entire record relating to its probe in the case by September 23.

A division Bench comprising Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justice A K Basheer made the oral observations after perusing an interim report submitted by the CBI and its application seeking six more months to complete the investigation into the case.

The bench noted that the agency had questioned 24 witnesses after March 18 this year, on which date the High Court had directed the CBI to complete its probe into the case in six months.

The case relates to the alleged amouny of over Rs 300 crore loss suffered by the Kerala State Electricity Board in its award of a contract to Canadian firm SNC Lavalin to revamp three hydel power plants in the state during the previous tenure of the LDF Government. The court noted most of the witnesses questioned by the CBI were local officials and ex-ministers. The agency had not contacted the Consulate of Canada regarding the investigation, it observed.

Expressing displeasure over the CBI's investigation, the bench wondered at the purpose of the court permitting the CBI investigation in cases, when it took decades to complete them.

''If this is the stand taken by the CBI, I am afraid whom are we going to rely on. Investigations are entrusted to the CBI because of lack of confidence in the local police and if this is the stance taken by the CBI, it is worse,'' the bench said.

The court also questioned whether the CBI was waiting for the elections to come to file the final report.

The bench also observed it would grant further extension of time to complete the investigation only if it was satisfied after perusing the records that a proper investigation was being conducted.

The court's March 18 deadline to the CBI to complete its investigation within six months ended today.


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