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.
"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.