The Supreme Court on Wednesday deferred till next week the hearing on the CBI’s appeal against the Kerala High Court order upholding Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s discharge in the SNC-Lavalin graft case.
The matter along with some other petitions in the case was listed Wednesday before a bench headed by Justice U U Lalit, but it could not take up the case due to paucity of time.
As the bench was about to rise, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the agency, said there was some urgency in the case as it is an order of discharge in an offence allegedly committed in 1995.
The bench then said it will consider it next week.
Petitions arising out of the SNC-Lavalin case, which were filed in 2017, were initially listed before a bench headed by the then Chief Justice. Later, the CBI also filed an appeal and all matters came to be listed before a bench headed by Justice N V Ramana.
On August 31, 2020, they were listed before the bench headed by Justice Lalit which sent them back to the bench headed by Justice Ramana.
The CBI appeal challenges the High Court’s August 23 verdict in which it upheld a trial court order discharging Vijayan in the case. Vijayan had maintained that the case was “politically motivated”.
The case relates to the award of contracts for renovation and modernisation of three hydro-electric projects in Kerala between 1995 and 1997, when Vijayan was Electricity Minister. The MoU between Kerala State Electricity Board and the Canadian company was signed on August 10, 1995.