Kerala’s law department is examining the Central Bureau of Investigation’s request to prosecute P Vijayan, Communist Party of India (Marxist) state general secretary, and its view will decide the course of action the party will opt for.
The state government had asked the law department to carefully examine the central agency’s request to put Vijayan on trial for a tainted power deal, said a party source, who didn’t want to be identified as he was not authorised to speak to the media.
“The law department will examine with a fine tooth comb the grounds on which the CBI has sought to prosecute Vijayan,” the source said.
The CBI has sought to name Vijayan, considered Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan’s bete noir, in its chargesheet in a case involving awarding of Rs 390-crore contract to SNC Lavlin Inc, a Canadian firm, for renovation of three hydropower projects in the state.
Asked what the course of action would be, CPM central committee member S. Ramachandran Pillai told HT over the phone from Thiruvananthapuram: “The law department has to apply its mind and give its opinion (on Vijayan). There could be prima facie loopholes in the CBI plea. The question of legal defence will come only after that.”
The investigating agency is yet to file a chargesheet but, in an interim report submitted to a special court, it accused Vijayan of criminal conspiracy, undue haste and bypassing norms to ensure that Lavlin Inc landed the deal, signed in July 1996.
The CPM’s central leadership, which has backed Vijayan, is awaiting the law department’s finding’s to prepare the legal defence of its state leader.
Asked about Achuthanandan’s request to strip Vijayan of his responsibilities until cleared by the CBI, party chief chief Prakash Karat said: “The collective stand of the party has been mentioned by the Politburo.” The Politburo has labelled as politically motivated the CBI’s move to charge Vijayan.