Lavalin: Congress calls for shutdown in Kerala

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Pinarayi Vijayan
Kochi, May 6: In protest agains the clean chit given to CPI-M state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan in SNC Lavalin graft case, the opposition Congress party called for a 12-hour shutdown across Kerala.

Kerala Advocate General C P Sudhakara Prasad said Vijayan need not to be prosecuted in the case relating to renovation and modernisation of three hydel projects in the state in late 1990s. Vijayan, who had been under the scanner in the case, was State Electricity Minister when the SNC Lavalin scam broke out 12 years ago.

SNC Lavalin power scandal is one of the biggest financial scams that rocked Kerala. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India report indicted a CPI(M)-led government of the mid-1990s for a Rs 374.50 crore loss to the exchequer. Vijayan figured as the ninth accused in a charge sheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).  Later, the CBI moved to seek the Government's consent to prosecute him.

Claus Trendl, Senior Vice President of the Canadian firm SNC Lavalin, has been arraigned as the eleventh accused and A Francis, former Joint Secretary (Power) as the tenth accused. There are totally eleven accused in the case.

Among the other accused are: K Mohanachandran, Former Principal Secretary (Power) and former Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) Chairman, who is the first accused, G Rajashekharan Nair, former Member (Accounts) (second accused) and P A Sidharthan Menon, former KSEB Chairman. Three hydel power stations had to be upgraded at Pallivasal, Sengulam and Panniar. Tenders were invited and was finalised to an Indian consortium and a Canadian MNC. The foreign company quoted Rs 2.42 crore per MW, the Indian consortium - BHEL and LandT - sought Rs 1.25 per MW. The contract went to the higher bidder, contrary to normal practice.

ANI

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