Will Kerala government sanction Vijayan’s prosecution?

May 4th, 2009 - 3:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, May 4 (IANS) Kerala’s Left Democratic Front (LDF) government, led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), will hold a crucial cabinet meeting Wednesday to decide if it should prosecute state CPI-M secretary Pinarayi Vijayan in a corruption case.
The ruling party’s state secretariat may want Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan to heed the state advocate general’s advice and not sanction the prosecution of Vijayan - who is the Achuthanandan’s main rival within the party - in the SNC Lavalin corruption scam.

At a special meeting of the CPI-M state secretariat here Sunday, the chief minister said it would be best if the corruption case was fought in court. But the secretariat decided that the state government should follow Advocate General C.P. Prasad’s suggestion, party sources said.

Party general secretary Prakash Karat told reporters the state government will decide the matter and there was no need for the politburo to intervene.

The opposition Congress, however, asserted that this was the time for Achuthanandan to overlook Prasad’s opinion and prove his claims of fighting corruption.

“Now is the time for Achuthanandan to act by going ahead and giving the sanction to prosecute Vijayan. This is the opportune time for him to act because he always speaks of fighting corruption,” said state Congress president Ramesh Chennithala.

Prasad reportedly submitted a sealed letter to the chief minister’s office, saying the government need not give the sanction for party state secretary Vijayan’s prosecution as the charges against him were not clear.

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.

The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) is holding a meeting at Kannur Tuesday to launch an agitation over the issue.

“We will decide tomorrow (Tuesday) on what sort of agitation should be launched for justice to take place in the Lavalin case,” said Chennithala.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in February wrote to Kerala Governor R.S. Gavai seeking permission to prosecute Vijayan. According to rules, the governor’s permission is necessary to prosecute a minister or a former minister. The state government sought legal opinion on the CBI plea.

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