THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The multi-crore SNC Lavalin corruption case was fiercely debated in the Assembly on Monday during a discussion on the notice for an adjournment motion by the Opposition demanding a CBI inquiry into corruption in the police department
Giving notice for adjournment motion, PT Thomas of the Congress raised the Opposition's oft-repeated charge that Lavalin case was the reason why Pinararyi was 'protecting' State Police Chief Loknath Behera. Thomas alleged that Behera was the 'bridge' connecting the Chief Minister to the Centre. "If that bridge collapses, the Chief Minister will fall into an abyss," Thomas said.
During his reply to the notice seeking adjournment motion, Pinarayi hit out at the Opposition and said such allegations point to the 'upbringing' of the MLAs who levelled them. "Which Lavalin are you talking about? At present, there is no case against me," Pinarayi said.
Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala soon joined issue and said the Lavalin case still exists. "Unless the judicial process is completely closed, nobody can be exonerated. The CBI has given an appeal in Supreme Court and the Chief Minister will have to face the legal battle," Chennithala said.
The corruption case relates to the loss of Rs 86.25 crore to the exchequer after Kerala State Electricity Board entered into a contract with a Canadian company SNC Lavalin for the renovation and modernisation of three hydroelectric projects.
Pinarayi was the then Electricity Minister. The High Court had discharged Pinarayi of the charges in 2018.