Hearing on Lavalin case adjourned yet again, SC may take it up after two weeks

Supreme Court. Photo: IANS
Supreme Court. Photo: IANS

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned the hearing on CBI's plea against the discharge of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and two others in a graft case related to awarding of a contract to Canadian firm SNC-Lavalin when he was the power minister.

The apex court adjourned the hearing for two weeks. The development came following a petition filed by former power department joint secretary A Francis on Monday seeking the court to postpone the hearing to produce additional documents.

The case pertains to allegations of corruption and causing a loss of Rs 374.50 crore to the state Exchequer in awarding of a contract to SNC-Lavalin when Vijayan was the power minister in 1996.

The SC also will also consider the petitions filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) challenging the acquittal of the first accused Energy department secretary K Mohana Chandran who later became the KBEB chairman, seventh-accused Pinarayi Vijayan and eight-accused A Francis.

The top court had earlier asked the CBI to come up with very strong grounds against the discharge of Vijayan and two others in the SNC Lavalin graft case.

The high court and the lower court have held that they should not be tried in the matter.

The CBI said this was a cross-appeals matter filed in 2017 and it will file a comprehensive note giving the factual aspect of the matter.

On August 23, 2017, the Kerala High Court had upheld the discharge of Vijayan in the SNC Lavalin graft case, saying the CBI had "wrongly picked" him as prima facie there was no case against him. 

The high court had also upheld the discharge of two others in the case while rejecting the CBI's plea that their full-fledged trial was necessary to prove the conspiracy.

The high court's verdict had come in a revision petition filed by the CBI in 2014 challenging the discharge of Vijayan and five others in the case by a special CBI court in Thiruvananthapuram.

The CBI special court, Thiruvananthapuram, had in November 2013 discharged Vijayan and others.

The probe agency had filed the charge sheet in the case arguing that there was sufficient evidence to prove the charges against the accused.

The discharge by the special court was 'illegal', CBI had stated in its revision petition.

The special judge had ruled that the CBI had failed to prove the charges of conspiracy and corruption levelled against Vijayan and other accused.

The CBI had argued before the high court that a trial was must to prove the conspiracy in giving the contract to revamp the power projects to the Canadian firm when Vijayan was power minister in 1996.

Claiming that the conspiracy was hatched at different stages in awarding the contract, the CBI had assailed the lower court order discharging Vijayan and six others and said a full-fledged trial was necessary to prove the conspiracy.

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.