Friday, March 17, 2017

The SNC Lavalin case - a few disturbing facts!

What is the SNC Lavalin case all about?

* Pinarayi Vijayan was the state's electricity minister in Chief Minister EK Nayanar's cabinet from
   May '96 to Oct '98.
* He hatched a criminal conspiracy, along with six others, to award a contract for the renovation and
   modernisation of the Pallivasal, Chengulam and Panniar hydroelectric projects to the Canadian
   company, SNC Lavalin, at an exhorbitant cost.
* The Kerala State Electricity Board had entered into an MoU with the company without inviting
   tenders and violating rules and regulations.
* As part of the MoU, the company had committed a grant of Rs.100 crores for the development of
   the Malabar Cancer Center.
* A few other related facts:-
       - In '96, Pinarayi Vijayan visited Canada and held discussions with the SNC Lavalin without a
         technical member in his delegation which decided the details of the equipment to be purchased
         from India and Canada.
       - He wanted a Cancer Center at Thalasserry in his native district, Kannur.
       - He'd signed the supply contract on a fixed rate basis with the company, which was not even
         the OEM, without verifying the reasonableness of the cost of the equipment.
       - His successor as the electricity minister in the UDF cabinet was the late G Karthikeyan.

   The facts.
           * The Malabar cancer Center never got the money. 
           * The company has reiterated that it has fulfilled all its commitments as per the MoU.
           * So, who pocketed the the money?
           * The scam had allegedly resulted in a loss of Rs.374.50 crores to the exchequer.
   The government says that the SNC Lavalin had wriggled out of its obligations!

A few disturbing facts brought out by the opposition.

  * When Pinarayi Vijayan had questioned the Governor's order to prosecute him in the Lavalin
     case in '09, it was Harish Salve who'd represented the then government against him. Now, he
     is his lawyer! 
  * The case was investigated by Lokanath Behra, a Deputy Director then in the CBI, who's now the
     DGP of the state. He'd met Harish Salve in recent days!
  * One of Salve's arguments that both the then chief minister and the chief secretary would also come
     under the ambit of the case, indicates the direction his legal brain is headed


Tailpiece.

Pinarayi Vijayan needs to clear his name from this ignominy at all costs. The judgement in this case, thus, becomes all the more important.



             

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