Justice K Harilal has recused himself from hearing a review petition seeking to set aside the verdict of the Thiruvananthapuram CBI special court discharging CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan and other six accused from the SNC-Lavalin case.
Justice Harilal ordered that the case be posted before another Bench when the petition by T P Nandakumar, editor of ‘Crime’ magazine, was taken up for hearing.
The petitioner contended that the special court gave over-emphasis to the non-execution of an agreement in relation to the grant of money to Malabar Cancer Centre to find reasons/grounds for discharging the accused.
The alleged MoU was entered into without satisfying the mandatory per-requirements like approval of the state government and Central Electricity Authority.
The special court did not take any pain to critically examine the motive of ignoring the per-requirements and the prohibitions imposed by the Central Government. The motive can be ascertained only after the trial of the case, the petitioner pointed out.
The order had created an amazing and astonishing result whereby two accused, who did not apply to be discharged, were also let free by the special court.
The special court, while discharging Vijayan and others, had held that the CBI could not prove that any of the accused gained “pecuniary advantage while awarding the contract to SNC-Lavalin, a Canadian company”.
According to the CBI charge sheet, Vijayan, while serving as Electricity Minister from May 1996 to October 1998, along with the other accused, had hatched a criminal conspiracy to award the supply contract for the renovation and modernisation of Pallivasal, Sengulam and Panniar hydroelectric projects to SNC-Lavalin at an exorbitant cost.
The CBI further alleged that the KSEB had entered into the MoU without inviting tenders, violating all rules and regulations.
The CBI special judge had held that the charges levelled against the accused were groundless and all the accused are entitled to get a discharge.
The other accused discharged along with Vijayan were former Principal Secretary (Power) K Mohanachandran, KSEB former member (Accounts) K G Rajasekharan Nair, KSEB former Chairman R Sivadasan, former Chief Engineer (Generation) M Kasthuriranga Iyer, KSEB former Chairman Siddhartha Menon and former joint secretary (Power) A Francis.