Lavalin case: CBI court flays Vijayan for absence

CPI (M) Poliburo member and Kerala unit secretary Pinarayi Vijayan
Kochi, Jun 17: CPI (M) Poliburo member and Kerala unit secretary Pinarayi Vijayan was today (June 17) criticised by a CBI court for failing to appear in a graft case relating to the award of contracts to a Canadian firm for renovation of three hydel projects in the state.

Vijayan, the seventh accused in the SNC Lavalin case, had filed an exemption petition stating that due to unavoidable public meetings, he was unable to appear in court today.

"This is not a convincing reason that can be put forward by the accused," Special Judge Jose Thomas observed.

Vijayan's counsel then assured the judge that whenever the court asks him to appear, he would be present.

Only two others accused in the case -- G Rajashekharan Nair, former KSEB board member and P A Siddhartan Menon, Former KSEB chairman were present.

Besides Vijayan, four other accused, including K Mohanachandraan, former Principal secretary (Power) and former KSEB Chairman, and A Francis former Joint secretary (Energy) also failed to appear.

The court also issued fresh non-bailable arrest warrant against Claus Trendl, former Senior Vice President of SNC Lavalin, and summons against the Lavalin company.

The case has been posted to Dec 19 for further hearing. The CBI filed charge sheet in the case on June 11, 2009.

The case pertains to alleged irregularities and corruption in awarding contract for renovation of three hydel projects to SNC-Lavalin when Vijayan was power minister in the LDF government in mid-1990s.


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