People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 4

February 01, 2009


Misleading Reports  On SNC Lavlin Case

SOME of the reports in media sought to distort facts in the SNC Lavalin case. One such example was a report in the Economic Times of January 24, 2009.

Apart from other things, the report tries to mislead readers by stating that “The investigation by the vigilance department was handed over to the CBI on January 17, 2007, by the Kerala High Court”. The facts are:

The case was given to the state Vigilance Department for investigation.

The Director of Vigilance, submitted his report in February 2006. On the basis of its findings, cases were registered against eight officers of the Kerala State Electricity Board. The vigilance report specifically cleared Pinarayi Vijayan of any wrongdoing as minister of electricity. The report also notes that the original MoU signed on August 10, 1995 was not based on any feasibility report and the subsequent consultancy agreements signed on February 24, 1996 were also based on a dubious feasibility report. The UDF was in power and the minister for electricity was G Karthikeyan of the Congress party.

Unhappy with the vigilance report clearing Pinarayi Vijayan, the Oomen Chandy led UDF government, in March 2006, took a cabinet decision to hand over the case to the CBI.

Condemning this decision, the communiqué issued after the CPI(M) central committee held on March 11-12, 2006 stated as follows:

In this connection, the central committee condemned the decision of the UDF government to refer the case of renovation and modernisation of certain power projects to the CBI. This decision taken on the eve of the election is a patently political move to implicate the secretary of the Kerala state committee and a member of the Polit Bureau of the Party in a case. The same UDF government had earlier entrusted the state vigilance department to investigate the matter. The report of the Vigilance Director was submitted to the UDF government and since it did not serve its interests, the cabinet decided to refer the matter to the CBI.”

The High Court came into the scene a few months after the matter was referred to the CBI. Hearing a PIL petition, it asked the agency to pursue the investigations.

This should set the record straight.