CPI-M full politburo to discuss Vijayan issue next week

January 23rd, 2009 - 4:05 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 23 (IANS) Embarrassed by the alleged involvement of its senior politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan in a multi-million rupee scam, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) has convened an emergency meeting of its full politburo next week to decide what action it must take, party sources said Friday.CPI-M’s Kerala unit chief Vijayan figures in the charge-sheet framed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in a 12-year-old scam when he was minister for electricity. He allegedly wrongly awarded the contracts to renovate two hydro-power projects to Canadian company SNC-Lavalin.

Though the available members of the politburo Thursday defended Vijayan, his main opponent in the party - Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan - rushed to the national capital Thursday and met general secretary Prakash Karat demanding strong action against Vijayan, party sources said.

“The party is in a fix. We don’t know how to defend Vijayan, he is our politburo member. It is an embarrassment and damages our party’s image. So the full politburo will discuss the matter threadbare at the end of this month,” a CPI-M leader, who did not want to be named, told IANS.

“The party is examining the charges against Vijayan. We want to know the gravity of the charges. We will assess it and seek remedies,” he said.

“If the allegation is true and action is not taken, it will weaken our moral ground, which we are enjoying now to criticise other parties for their corruption,” the leader added.

Some politburo members who met here Thursday took a stance that the CBI’s move to prosecute Vijayan in the graft case was “politically motivated”.

“Steps taken by the CBI to prosecute Vijayan in the SNC-Lavalin case is politically motivated,” the party said in a statement Thursday.

Vijayan was electricity minister in 1997 when the contract was awarded to SNC-Lavalin for the renovation and modernization of the Pallivassal, Chengulam and Panniyar hydro-electric projects in Idukki district.

“It should be recollected that the then Oommen Chandy government had referred the case to the CBI in 2006 after the vigilance enquiry, ordered by it, had exonerated comrade Vijayan of any wrongdoing,” the party statement said.

“The CPI-M had condemned that move (in 2006), stating that it is being done on the eve of the assembly elections for partisan purposes. Now, with the advent of the Lok Sabha polls, once again the case is being proceeded with.

“The use of central investigating agencies by the ruling party for political purposes should be a matter of serious public concern,” the statement added.

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