The Supreme Court on Tuesday fixed May 1 for the final hearing of the controversial SNC Lavalin case allegedly involving Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The matter has been adjourned 36 times since 2017.
“On Tuesday, there are 50-60 matters and the turn normally does not come in so many cases. One way is we admit this matter and list it on Wednesday,” observed a Bench presided over by Justice Surya Kant. The Bench, also comprising Justice KV Viswanathan, granted a period of two weeks for filing of fresh ‘power of attorney’ as a lawyer representing one of the respondents has been recently designated as senior advocate.
“The matter has been adjourned 36 times since 2017 and the CBI is not interested to prosecute appeal,” submitted one of the counsels appearing in the case. Responding to this, the counsel assisting Additional Solicitor General (ASG) SV Raju and representing the CBI said, “It is not the case that the CBI is not inclined to take up the matter. It has been on other grounds.”
“May I request for a short date. I want it a little early. May it be heard next month,” added ASG Raju. The matter has been fixed for final hearing on May 1, 2024. This matter first came in the apex court in 2017, following the Kerala High Court verdict exonerating Vijayan in the case.
Contending that Vijayan should face trial, the CBI filed a Special Leave Petition before the Supreme Court. The case pertains to loss of Rs 374 crore to the Kerala State Electricity Board's (KSEB) contract with the Canada-based SNC Lavalin for the renovation and modernisation of Pallivasal, Sengulam and Panniar hydroelectric projects in Idukki district in 1996, when Vijayan was the Power Minister in the Cabinet of EK Nayanar.