The Central Bureau of Investigation on Thursday filed a chargesheet against Communist Party of India - Marxist Kerala Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan in a graft case.
After receiving Governor R S Gavai's sanction four days ago to prosecute 69-year-old Vijayan, overruling the state cabinet recommendation, the CBI filed the 11-page chargesheet in a special court in Kochi, naming Vijayan and eight others as accused in the case.
Vijayan, the first CPI-M politburo member to face prosecution for alleged corruption, has been charged under Indian Penal Code sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) and section 13 (1) and 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act in the case, regarding award of contracts to Canadian company SNC-Lavalin for renovating three hydro power projects in 1998 when he was the power minister in the E K Nayanar government.
The 11-year-old politically sensitive case relates to alleged corruption, with regard to award of consultancy and renovation contracts of Panniyar, Shengulam and Pallivasai hydel projects, allegedly causing a loss of about Rs 374.5 crore to the state exchequer.
The agency submitted over 300 documents in four steel trunks to the CBI Special Court in Ernakulam. According to the CBI, Vijayan, during his tenure as power minister from 1996 to 1998, allegedly colluded with others and joined a criminal conspiracy to favour SNC Lavalin by awarding contracts for renovation of the projects.
Besides Vijayan, the other accused listed in the 11-page chargesheet included K Mohanachandran, former principal secretary (Power) and former chairman of the Kerala State Electricity Board, K G Rajashekharan Nair, former member (accounts), R Sivadas, M Kasthuri Ranga Iyer, P Sidharata Menon, former KSEB Chairman, Klaus Trindel, senior vice president of SNC Lavalin, A Francis, former joint secretary (Power) and the firm SNC Lavalin.
Over 300 documents in four steel trunks have been submitted to the court by the CBI. On January 21, the CBI had sought permission from the Kerala High court to arraign Pinarayi Vijayan as an accused in the case.
The investigating agency had also sought permission from the Governor to prosecute the former minister. The chargesheet has been filed hardly four days after receiving the Governor's sanction.