Congress and CPI (M) engage in war of words over Lavalin graft charges

"I am not an accused in the case," said Pinarayi
Congress and CPI (M) engage in war of words over Lavalin graft charges
Congress and CPI (M) engage in war of words over Lavalin graft charges
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Congress and CPI (M) in Kerala on Thursday locked horns over the 'SNC Lavalin graft case' with the former alleging that the Marxist party was in jitters over the case which had allegedly caused a loss of Rs 86.25 crore to the state exchequer in 1995-97.

While Congress state President, V M Sudheeran, hit out at the marxist party's "silence" on the SNC Lavalin issue, CPI-M Politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan said it was a misunderstanding of Sudheeran that he (Vijayan) or the party were afraid of the case.

Sudheeran had in an open letter to Vijayan expressed surprise over his "silence" on the Lavalin case which had rocked the state in 1995-97. The Congress leader had stated that the marxist party leaders were trying to glorify him when he was keeping silent on the case.

Breaking his silence, Vijayan told reporters at Ambalemedu in Kochi on Thursday that it was a misconception harboured by Sudheeran that the marxist party was worried over the Lavalin case.It was CPI-M which had approached the court seeking for early trial in the case, he said.

"I am not an accused in the case. The case had been dismissed in 2013 as there was no evidence against the accused," he said, adding two years later, the state government had now filed an appeal.

The CBI court had rejected the chargesheet against Vijayan and other accused as the agency could not prove the charges against them.

The case relates to alleged irregularities in the award of Rs 360-crore contract for renovation and modernisation of the Pallivasal, Sengulam and Panniyar hydroelectric projects to SNC-Lavalin, a Canadian firm, during 1995.

Sudheeran also wanted to know why the E Balanandan committee recommendations that only essential components of the three projects be replaced and not to go in for total substitution of power generation equipment, were ignored and where the Rs 12 crore given to the Malabar cancer centre at Thalassery had gone.

CPI-M had earlier alleged an RSS-Congress nexus in UDF government's decision to seek early hearing of a revision plea in the High Court challenging a CBI court discharging Vijayan in the graft case.

CPI-M state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had earlier alleged that it was the practice of Congress to rake up the Lavalin issue when elections are round the corner in the state.

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