CBI told to split SNC Lavalin trial charge sheet

Kochi, June 18 (IANS) The Kerala High Court Tuesday directed that the trial in the SNC Lavalin case, in which CPI-M leader Pinarayi Vijayan is an accused, can go ahead by splitting the charge sheet.

The court’s order came while hearing a petition from Vijayan, the party’s state secretary, stating that the trial is yet to begin because two of the accused in the case are yet to be given the charge sheet.

Of the nine accused, the then SNC Lavalin vice president, Claus Trendl and the company are the two who are yet to be given the charge sheet, nor have they appeared before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) trial court here.

The CBI had in June 2009 filed charge sheets against nine accused in the Rs.374 crore scam related to the Canada-based SNC Lavalin company, which was given a contract to renovate three power plants in the state. Vijayan, as the state power minister, had inked the final agreement with the Canadian firm in 1997.

The CBI wanted that the trial should begin on a single charge sheet but all these years, despite their best efforts, were unable to bring the remaining two accused before the law thus delaying the start of the trial.

Vijayan is currently on bail and this case had generated huge interest because it was the first time ever that a Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) politburo member had to appear before a court to secure bail in a corruption case.

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