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Kerala: Pinarayi wants Antony quizzed in graft case

September 24, 2009 17:53 IST

In a new twist to the politically sensitive graft case in which he is an accused, CPI(M) leader Pinarayi Vijayan today filed a petition in a special court in Kochi seeking direction to the CBI to question Defence Minister A K Antony, the then chief minister of the state.

Vijayan, who did not appear in the CBI court today on health grounds, submitted that if Antony and some officials concerned were questioned, the allegation against him would be "falsified".

Vijayan, the CPI-M Kerala unit Secretary and a politburo member, has been chargesheeted by the CBI along with eight others in the case relating to alleged corruption in awarding contracts for renovation of three hydel projects in the state to Canadian firm SNC Lavalin in 1998 when he was the power minister.

Special Court Judge K P Jothindranath, who adjourned the next hearing on the case to December 30, asked the CBI counsel to file their objection, if any, to Vijayan's prayer.

"A K Antony is a necessary and material witness to be questioned because it was during his tenure, the MoU was entered into and contracts were concluded and it was during his tenure the MoU lapsed," Vijayan submitted.

Vijayan said he was Power minister only from May 1996 to October 1998 and the chargesheet was submitted on the basis of assumptions that consultancy and supply contracts were entered during his tenure as the minister, which was "incorrect".

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