Kerala cabinet biased in Vijayan's favour, CBI tells SC



Kerala cabinet biased in Vijayan`s favour, CBI tells SC New Delhi: The CBI has told the Supreme Court that the Kerala Governor was justified in granting sanction for prosecution of CPI(M) leader Pinarayi Vijayan in a multi-crore rupee graft case as the "state cabinet was biased in his favour".

The agency submitted that Vijayan being the state party 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.

"Petitioner Pinarayi Vijayan was ex-minister and at present he is the Secretary of the ruling political party viz; Communist Party (Marxist). As per the hierarchical set up and the actual exercise of power in the party, the State Secretary of Marxist Party is politically the top most position.

s "In other words, the party secretary's opinion counts a lot in the selection of chief ministerial candidate as well as the council of ministers. When it comes to the matter of prosecution of such a person, the council of ministers would not appreciate the real facts and advise the Governor without any bias," the CBI said in an affidavit.

The CBI's affidavit has been filed in response to Vijayan's appeal in the apex court challenging Governor R S Gavai's decision allow his prosecution in the SNC Lavalin corruption case, even though the state government had opposed it on the ground that the case was politically motivated.

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.

The government's official auditor had later found that the award of the contract by Kerala State Electricity Board to the firm allegedly at the behest of the minister had resulted in a loss of Rs 3.5 billion crore to the exchequer.

Though the council of ministers declined to grant sanction to CBI, the Governor had subsequently granted the sanction under Article 163 (2) of the Constitution.

The CBI further said that the Governor's action cannot be challenged in the court as he enjoys Constitutional immunity under Article 163 (2).

"According or not according of sanction is a matter distinct and different from one for which advice from the council of ministers is required. The decision taken by the Governor in his discretion shall be final, and the validity of anything done by the Governor shall not be questioned on the ground that he ought or not to have acted in his discretion," the affidavit added.

PTI