The CBI has sought permission from the Kerala High Court to arraign CPI(M) state secretary,Pinarayi Vijayan as ninth accused in the SNC Lavalin case relating to renovation and modernisation of three hydel projects in the state in late 1990s.
In the progress report filed by the CBI Chennai unit DYSP,V Ashok Kumar,before the CBI Special court,here,it has been stated that Vijayan,a former Power minister,should be arraigned as the ninth accused.
Claus Trendl,Senior Vice President of the Canadian firm SNC Lavalin,has been arraigned as the 11th accused and A Francis,former Joint secretary (power) as the 10th accused.
There are totally 11 accused in the case.
Among the other accused are: K Mohanachandran,Former Principal secretary (Power) and former Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) Chairman,who is the first accused,G Rajashekharan Nair,former member (Accounts) (second accused) and P A Sidharthan Menon,former KSEB Chairman.
During the course of investigation,Vijayan’s involvement came to light apart from the other accused,CBI said in its report.
Vijayan while serving as Electricity Minister between May 1996 and October 1998 colluded with K Mohanachandran,Principal Secretary (Power) and joined criminal conspiracy which was already hatched in 1995 by R Sivadasan,former KSEB chairman and others in the matter of awarding supply contracts of the projects to Lavalin,the CBI stated.
Vijayan had led a high level delegation to Canada in October 1996 and held discussions with SNC Lavalin and Export Development Corporation International Development agency regarding the contract and took a decision in awarding the supply contracts to Lavalin at a fixed rate basis,the investigating agency said.
The main consideration in the award of the contract,which was signed by KSEB on February 10,1997 without government approval,was the grant offered for establishment of Malabar Cancer Centre (MCC) at Thalassery in Kannur district.
The E Balanandan committee,appointed by the Kerala government,in its report had opined that the complete replacement of the machinery need not be carried out for the hydel projects and essential parts alone need to be replaced for which the estimated cost will be around Rs 100.5 crore.
This recommendation was overlooked and the supply contract was signed just a week after Vijayan received the report,the agency said.
CBI said Vijayan along with then Chief Minister,late E K Nayanar and late Dr V Rajagopal,then KSEB chairman,again visited Canada during June 1997 where the grant amount to establish the MCC was decided at Rs 100 crore.
The CBI stated that Vijayan along with other accused had ‘fraudulently with dishonest intention’ of showing undue favour to SNC Lavalin entered into only a ‘non binding’ memorandum of understanding on April 25,1998 for MCC instead of a legally valid MOA which facilitated Lavlin to back out from the commitment later,thereby ‘cheating the government.’
K Mohanachandran and A Francis signed the MoU and no government order was issued authorizing K Mohanachandran to sign the same,but there was concurrence of Vijayan,CBI said.
Lavlin,taking advantage of the non binding agreement,backed out of the commitment after spending only about Rs 12 crore through its consultants,thus not financing MCC to the tune of Rs 86.25 crore.
As part of the criminal conspiracy Vijayan,Mohanachandran and A Francis and others placed a crucial note for approval before the council of ministers on Mar 3,1998,after suppressing various facts,including the fact that MOU route was dispensed with the Union government,full report of the National Hydel Electric power corporation was not highlighted and concurrence of Central Electrical Authority,and obtained cabinet approval,CBI stated.
Vijayan also had close contacts with SNC Lavalin officials and by abusing his official position had exerted ‘high pressure’ on the staff of KSEB and thereby favoured Lavalin in their official dealings with KSEB,CBI said.
The investigations revealed that supply contract for renovation and modernisation of the Panniyar,Shengulam and Pallivasal hydel projects was given to SNC Lavalin at an exorbitant rate and the per MW cost for the same was the highest. This caused a loss to the Kerala government with corresponding wrongful gain to Lavalin,CBI said.