No clean chit to anyone in Lavalin case: Kerala ex-vigilance chief

February 5th, 2009 - 6:46 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 5 (IANS) The politburo of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) is in a fix with former Kerala vigilance director Upendra Varma, who initially investigated the SNC-Lavalin scam, saying that he had not given anyone, including CPI-M state party secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, a clean chit. Vijayan was state electricity minister when the SNC-Lavalin scam broke out 12 years ago.

“I have not given a clean chit to anyone. I have not conducted a detailed investigation into the case. I conducted only a preliminary inquiry,” Varma told IANS by phone from Bhopal.

Defending Vijayan, the ninth accused by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the 12-year-old case, the CPI-M said Jan 22 that the case against its party leader was “politically motivated” and the vigilance enquiry ordered by the then Congress-led government had “exonerated Comrade Vijayan of any wrongdoing.”

The case was transferred to the CBI before the vigilance could start an inquiry, Varma said.

The case was referred to the CBI by the then Oomen Chandy government in 2006.

The CBI initially refused to take up the case on the ground that the case was handled by the state vigilance department.

However, the chief editor of a Kozhikode-based fortnightly approached the Kerala High Court seeking a CBI inquiry into the case and subsequently the high court ordered a CBI investigation.

The case was held under the supervision of the Kerala High Court.

Varma’s revelation has also put Vijayan, who is already facing revolt from within the party for his involvement in the scam, into deeper crisis.

“The politburo issued such a statement because they are also part of this corruption along with Vijayan. Now, Varma’s revelation has clarified that the state vigilance had not given any clean chit to Vijayan,” senior Congress leader and former Kerala minister M.M. Hasan said.

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