The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) informed a special court in Kochi on Saturday that there was no evidence to prove the graft charge against CPI(M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan.
Pinarayi, seventh accused in a graft case, was the power minister when the state signed a contract with Canadian power company SNC Lavalin in February 1997 for modernising three hydel power projects. The deal led to a Rs 98-crore loss for the state.
"The truth will emerge finally. Some people were out to frame our secretary," CPI(M) central committee member E P Jayarajan said, welcoming the CBI statement.
In response to a petition by a Kochi-based magazine editor for expediting the investigation, CBI deputy superintendent Ashok Kumar said the agency had not found any proof of money changing hands.
The CPI(M)-led Left and Democratic Front government had awarded the Rs 374-crore contract to SNC Lavalin on condition that it would mobilise Rs 90 lakh for a cancer centre in north Kannur district. But the company failed to honour this condition.
Pinarayi was the power minister when the deal was clinched without being routed through a global bidding process. The Congress-led United Democratic Front government handed over the case to the CBI in 2005.
The graft case caused much embarrassment to the party and was one of the factors that affected the Left’s performance in the last general elections.
The case assumed importance, especially after Governor R S Gavi allowed the CBI to proceed against Pinarayi, rejecting the state cabinet’s decision not to allow any prosecution. The party, however, backed the Pinarayi to the hilt.