SNC Lavalin case: SC posts to May 1 appeals challenging discharge of Kerala CM


PTI, Feb 6, 2024, 8:35 PM IST

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan (Source: PTI / File)

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday posted for May 1 an appeal filed by the CBI and others challenging the discharge of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and other officials in the SNC Lavalin case.

A bench of justices Surya Kant and KV Viswanathan adjourned the hearing after it was informed that advocate-on-record for some of the parties have been recently designated as senior advocates and fresh engagement is needed.

Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, appearing for the CBI, requested the bench for an early date but the apex court said it was not possible to hear the matter before May.

During the hearing, senior advocate Devadatt Kamat, appearing for Congress leader and former Kerala Opposition Leader VM Sudheeran, opposed the adjournment saying the case had been listed 30 times since 2017, and deferred every time.

Raju submitted that the CBI is taking the matter very seriously and it is ready to argue on any date fixed by the top court.

The apex court in 2017 had issued notice to Vijayan on CBI’s plea against his discharge in the case.

The Kerala High Court on August 23, 2017 had upheld the discharge of Vijayan and two others in the matter, saying the CBI had “wrongly picked” Vijayan, as prima facie there was no case against him.

The high court’s order had come on CBI’s plea challenging their discharge by a special court in Thiruvananthapuram.

The special court had in November 2013 discharged Vijayan and others of the charge of alleged corruption in awarding a contract to Canadian firm SNC-Lavalin when Vijayan was the power minister in 1996 that had allegedly caused a loss to the state exchequer.

The agency, in its plea before the top court, claimed that there was ample material to prima facie show conspiracy in the case and these evidence could be appreciated at the trial stage.

The CBI had earlier argued before the high court that there was sufficient evidence to prove the charges against accused.

The trial court, while discharging Vijayan and others,had observed that the agency had failed to prove the charges of conspiracy and corruption against them.

The CBI had earlier alleged that there was a conspiracy in awarding the contract to revamp the power projects to the Canadian firm in 1996.

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