With hardly a few months left for the Lok Sabha elections, a 12-year-old Rs 90-crore power scam has returned to haunt the ruling CPI(M) in Kerala.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday sought the government’s consent to prosecute all the accused — the CPI(M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan being one of them — in the SNC Lavalin corruption case.
The case pertains to huge losses incurred by the state due to the alleged corruption in awarding a power project contract to a Canadian firm, SNC Lavalin, for renovation of three hydel projects — Pallivasal, Changulam and Panniar. The contract with SNC Lavalin was finalised in the mid-1990s when Vijayan was power minister.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) found lapses in the contract, as public sector BHEL had quoted a lower price. Three years ago, then United Democratic Front government, headed by Oommen Chanday, handed over the case to the CBI.
Reacting to the case, BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said in New Delhi, “We have always said the SNC Lavalin deal is a case of corruption and needs thorough probe. We demand that CBI be given freedom to proceed as per the need.”
Though the party has rallied behind Vijayan, who has been listed as the ninth accused in the scam, it is likely to intensify faction feud that has already divided the state unit into two camps led by Vijayan and Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan.
(With PTI inputs)