SC asks Attorney General to assist in Lavalin scam

SC has asked AG G E Vahanvati to assist court on validity of Kerala Governor`s power to grant sanction to CBI for prosecuting Vijayan.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday asked
Attorney General G E Vahanvati to assist the court on the
validity of the Kerala Governor`s power to grant sanction to
the CBI for prosecuting senior CPI (M) leader Pinarayi Vijayan
in a multi-crore rupee graft case.

A bench of Justices R V Raveendran and R M Lodha sought
the assistance even as the Attorney General initially
expressed reluctance on the ground that he was appearing for
the CBI in the matter.

The bench said since the Attorney General was already
appearing in the matter, it would not like to appoint any
other person to assist it as an amicus curaie on the
Governor`s power.

The court said as Vahanvati was representing the CBI
there was no reason why he should not defend the Governor`s
action or assist the court on the validity of his powers as
the agency had filed the chargesheet on the basis of the
sanction obtained.

Following the bench`s remarks, Vahanvati said he would
consult the CBI Director and seek necessary instructions
besides ensuring that some other counsel could be appointed
for the CBI.

The apex court passed the direction while dealing with
the petition filed by Vijayan challenging the decision of
Governor R S Gavai to grant sanction to the CBI to prosecute
him even though the state cabinet had turned the probe
agency`s plea.

The CBI had earlier in an affidavit before the apex court
submitted that the Kerala Governor was justified in granting
sanction for the prosecution as the "state cabinet was biased
in his favour".

The agency submitted that Vijayan being the state CPI(M)
secretary had the propensity to influence the council of
ministers as even the Chief Minister`s appointment in the
CPI(M) hierarchy is subject to the party leader`s opinion.

The CPI-M leader is facing prosecution for his alleged
role in awarding a contract in 1997 for renovation and
modernisation of three hydro-power plants in the state to a
Canadian firm, SNC Lavalin, without any competitive bidding.