Lavalin case: Stay on trial, notice to Pinarayi

Ockhi fund spent for Kerala CM's travel for party meetings

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan Faces Flak For Diverting Cyclone Relief Fund For Helicopter Ride

The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notice to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and others on a CBI plea against their discharge in the SNC-Lavalin corruption case.

The CBI also told the apex court that there was "ample material to show the involvement" of Vijayan in the SNC Lavalin deal involving the award of contracts for the renovation of the three hydel power projects in Kerala in the 1990s.

Kerala DGP Loknath Behera on Wednesday clarified that his department has not advised for a chopper ride by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on December 26.The DGP said this following allegation that the expense of the Chief Minister's helicopter journey was reimbursed from the State Disaster Relief Fund sanctioned for Ockhi Cyclone victims."We are not giving guidelines for any mode of travel". M Kasthuriranga Iyer, KG Rajasekharan Nair and R Sivadasan had asked why they were not discharged, when Vijayan and the other two were. Vijayan along with other accused was acquitted by the Thiruvananthapuram special court earlier.

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The CBI said the High Court accused it of adopting a "pick and choose" policy in naming certain persons as accused.

The Kerala government spent Rs 10.5 lakh for an 8-member Central team that visited the state to assess damages from Cyclone Ockhi. By the time work was completed, the costs had escalated to Rs 374.5 crore. The CBI also accused Vijayan, who was then power minister, of swindling Rs 375 crore from the state. A criminal case was registered on February 12, 2007 and the CBI filed its charge sheet on June 12, 2009. The Chief Minister and the CPI-M can not absolve themselves now and it was a "naked misuse of power", he alleged. The total amount spent on the Central team adds up to Rs 18.5 lakh when the chief minister's helicopter expenses are also added. Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said the decision of the CPM secretariat is a challenge to the people of Kerala. He also alleged that the CPI (M) led LDF government physically annihilated those who raise voices against it.

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