The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) on Monday termed as "unfortunate" the Kerala governor's giving permission to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to prosecute party leader Pinarayi Vijayan in the Rs 300 crore (Rs 3 billion) SNC Lavalin scam and said it would fight the case "both politically and legally".
"The Politburo reiterates that the CBI case against Pinarayi Vijayan, politburo member of CPM and the secretary of Kerala state committee of CPM, is politically motivated," a statement issued after a meeting of the politburo here said.
"It is unfortunate that the Governor of Kerala decided to grant permission to the Central Bureau of Investigation to initiate prosecution proceedings against Pinarayi Vijayan. The CPM will fight the case both politically and legally," it added.
Earlier, CPM leader Brinda Karat on Monday said the case was "politically motivated".
"Our party has already taken a stand on this issue - it is a politically motivated case. The party politburo has issued a statement earlier and the state secretariat of our party in Kerala has also clarified the position on this matter," Karat said.
Asked how the party would face the tag of a senior leader being involved in a multi-million scam, she reiterated that they would fight the case "politically and legally".
Karat added that "available members of the party's politburo" would be meeting in the national capital later on Monday to discuss the issue.
Kerala Governor R S Gavai called the head of the CBI office here to his residence Sunday afternoon and handed over a 148-page report, giving his sanction to prosecute Vijayan.
Vijayan is accused of wrongfully awarding a contract to Canadian company SNC Lavalin for renovation of two power plants when he was the state power minister in 1997.
This is the first time a CPI-M politburo member has been accused in a multi-million rupee scam and will face prosecution. The Kerala secretariat of the CPI-M, which leads the state's ruling coalition, had Sunday termed the decision "most unfortunate".