Opposition calls for Kerala shutdown for Vijayan’s prosecution

May 6th, 2009 - 5:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Kochi, May 6 (IANS) The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) has called for a state-wide shutdown in Kerala Thursday to protest what it claims are government’s attempt to protect Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) secretary Pinarayi Vijayan in a corruption case.
Vijayan has been accused of wrongly awarding contracts to Canadian company SNC Lavalin for renovation of two hydro-power projects 12 years ago when he was the state’s power minister.

In February, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) wrote to Kerala Governor R.S. Gavai seeking permission to prosecute Vijayan.

According to the rules, the governor’s permission is necessary to prosecute a minister or a former minister. The state government sought legal opinion from the advocate general on the CBI’s plea.

Advocate General C.P. Sudhakara Prasad Saturday gave his opinion that the state government need not give sanction to prosecute Vijayan as the charges against him were not clear.

“Every one knows that the CPI-M has pressurized the advocate general for such a report just to give a clean chit to Vijayan and to save him. This is a blot on literate Kerala. We will observe a state-wide shutdown to protest government’s action,” UDF convenor P.P. Thankachen told reporters here.

Meanwhile in Thiruvananthapuram, Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan was tight lipped on the contents of the advocate general’s report.

“The state government will hand over the legal opinion to the governor in the SNC Lavalin case,” Achuthanandan told reporters.

Faced with a barrage of questions on the contents of the report, Achuthanandan said such things need not have to be discussed with the media.

“It (the report) will be given to the governor,” he said.

Achuthanandan also denied that his office was involved in leaking the contents of the report.

“The report was handed over to my secretary Sheela Thomas and she came over to my house with it. I asked her to open it and read. As she was reading it, I saw on the TV channel reporting about the contents of the report. So you can make the inference,” said Achuthanandan.

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