CBI opposes CPI-M leader's plea for splitting graft case



Kochi: CBI on Thursday opposed in the Kerala High Court the plea of the CPI(M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan to split the trial of the case relating to alleged irregularities in the award of a contract to a Canadian company for renovation of hydel projects in 1996.

The statement of CBI was filed on a writ petition by Vijayan and Siddharta Menon, former KSEB Chairman, seeking to split the case against him and others for speedy trial in view of the delay in securing the presence of official of the firm.

Canadian firm SNC Lavalin is the sixth accused and its former Vice-President Claus Trendl the ninth accused in the case relating to alleged irregularities in the award of contracts by KSEB to SNC Lavalin company for the renovation of three hydel projects in the state in 1996, causing a loss of over Rs 375 crore to the state exchequer.

CBI disclosed that summons to the company and Trendl issued by the special CBI court here had not been served and request for extradition of Trendl was yet to be considered by the Canadian Government. Hence, it cannot be concluded that they are absconding.

Vijayan, a former power minister, contended that the case was hanging like a 'Damocles sword' over his head. Delay in the trial was causing serious hardships to him.

PTI