(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
May 23, 2010
Fabrication in Lavlin Case Exposed
K K Ragesh
THE cock and bull story manufactured by anti-communist circles in regard to the SNC Lavlin case has now come to its inevitable end. The CBI, which had charged CPI(M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan under sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code, has now filed an affidavit in the court, saying there is no evidence to prove that he had made any financial gains. The CBI affidavit, in response to a petition filed by notorious Crime magazine editor, clarifies that there was no evidence to prove any monetary transactions in the agreement between the SNC Lavlin company and the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB).
One notes that the notorious magazine editor had, in his petition, sought a follow-up probe on certain evidences (!) about the deal. The court naturally asked the CBI whether any evidences were left out to prove a monetary gain. The CBI filed the affidavit in reply, affirming that there was no evidence to prove that Pinarayi Vijayan or any middlemen had made any monetary benefits. The CBI also maintained that it could not investigate cases on the basis of hearsay. The rightwing media that fraudulently fashioned numerous fairytales on Lavlin case, however, made deliberate attempts to hide the news of the CBI affidavit; some of them even tried to twist the truth saying that the affidavit only said the CBI could not find any evidence to prove a monetary gain. To them, it did not mean that the CPI(M) state secretary had made no financial gains.
Further, in its charge sheet itself, the CBI had not accused Vijayan of having made any personal pecuniary benefits. The CBI had focussed on the setting up of the Malabar Cancer Centre at Thalassery in Kannur district, which is Pinarayi Vijayanís home district. Even then, the vested interests, the UDF and reactionary media blatantly propagated that Vijayan had made a huge amount as kickback in the Rs 374.50 crore Lavlin deal. Despite the fact that the total worth of the Lavlin-KSEB contract was Rs 149 crore only, the vested interests did not hesitate to make this motivated hullabaloo. But the CBIís latest affidavit has destroyed the foundation of the case and exploded the malicious campaign unleashed against the CPI(M) and its state secretary.
The Congress party has, time and again, used the intelligence agencies for partisan political gains, and the CBI has been no exception to it. The partyís real face was once again exposed when the opposition parties moved their cut motion in parliament. The Congress did not hesitate to withdraw the corruption cases lodged by the CBI against the BSP leader Mayawati; the same agency was used to neutralise some leaders of other parties also. Even the Supreme Court once vehemently criticised the centre for misusing the investigating agency.
It was the
Congress led UDF government that had decided to renew the Pallivasal,
and Panniyar power projects on the basis of a technical report. The
Rao government at the centre was then encouraging the MoU (Memorandum
Understanding) route. The UDF government too chose the MoU route for an
and no global tender was issued for the work. Accordingly, the
SNC Lavlin and the KSEB signed an MoU
in August 1995; subsequently an implementation/consultancy
signed in February 1996. All these developments occurred under the UDF
government when Congress leader G Karthikeyan was the electricity
spite of these glaring facts, the UDF and rightwing media deliberately
Vijayan of not calling for a global tender. But how could Vijayan, who
the state electricity minister in May 1996, call for a global tender
project on which there had already been an agreement with the SNC
Lavlin? How could
the LDF government cancel an agreement when clause 17 of the contract
stipulated arbitration for any breach of contract, under the rules and
procedures of International Chamber of Commerce in
Earlier the LDF government had already faced a piquant situation. It had terminated the previous UDF governmentís MoU with the ABB for renovation of the Neryamangalam hydel power station where no implementation/consultancy agreement was signed, as was later done in case of Pallivasal, Sengulam and Panniyar power stations. After five years of litigation, the court had ordered the government to cancel its decision and allot the renovation work to the ABB. The malicious campaigners were blind even to the significant policy change --- that the LDF government had put an end to the MoU route and issued global tenders for such contracts. The rightwing media and anti-CPI(M) circles conveniently hid all such glaring facts.
It is amply clear
that Vijayan did not sign any basic agreement with the SNC Lavlin;
rather he had
signed only an addendum to the basic agreement which was signed by the
government. After several rounds of discussion, the SNC Lavlin had to
the basic agreement certain significant changes which were vital for
the stateís interests, and an addendum had to be signed to effect such
alterations. It was on the basis of this addendum that substantial
made in the price of the equipments to be purchased from
During the period of the Nayanar government, a section of the Congress leadership and their supportive media had come up with certain allegations on the SNC Lavlin agreement. But the subsequent UDF government, which came to power in 2001, did not order any enquiry during its first two years. After two years, it ordered a vigilance enquiry on March 6, 2003 when the whole state was reverberating with massive struggles and the opposition MLAs were to go on an indefinite hunger strike following the brutal oppression of the tribal peopleís struggle and the killing of an adivasi activist in police firing. The investigation was ordered to divert attention from the inhuman police repression and mounting resistance.
department investigated the case for three years and submitted a report
UDF government on March 10, 2006, just before the assembly election.
But the government
did not initiate any action on the report. Reactionary media propagated
Pinarayi Vijayan was going to be an accused in the case. The UDF
design was to sit tight over the report and feed the media speculations
order to influence the election results in its favour. But the
an FIR in the vigilance court, categorically stating that Vijayan was
responsible for any lapses. It added that his
The CBI too was so Ďvigilantí that it chose to submit its report just before the parliament elections. The investigating agency depicted G Karthikeyan (former UDF minister) as the author of the conspiracy but conveniently dropped his name from its list of the accused. The CBI devised a surprising story that Vijayan was involved in the conspiracy after he became the electricity minister in May 1996, in order to set up a cancer centre at Thalassery. The CBIís argument also gave an impression that the cancer centre is a private institution and that Vijayan made personal gains from it. In fact, the Malabar Cancer Centre, set up later, is a government institution under the health ministry.
Lavlin case is thus a forged case built upon follies and fraudulences for narrow political gains. Even the governorís office was misused and constitutional norms were violated. No state government can grant sanction to prosecute a former minister when the advocate general, in his legal opinion, categorically states that Vijayan had only performed his duties as a minister. Was it such an extraordinary case for the governor to grant sanction for prosecution so arbitrarily, by rejecting the state governmentís recommendation? The governor, in his order, could not give any logical argument to reject the protection guaranteed by the law of the land to a public servant who was discharging his duties in good faith.
In their eagerness to create controversies and insinuate the CPI(M) and its state secretary in Lavlin case, the plotters suitably shielded the real perpetrators. Rightwing media consciously skirted the question whether the UDF government had not indulged in a criminal conspiracy while signing the MoU with Lavlin without any global tender. Why did the UDF government later allowed the Lavlin to get the MoU for setting up the Malabar Cancer Centre lapsed by neither renewing the MoU nor signing an agreement with SNC Lavalin despite its willingness to sign it? Why did the CBI left out the author of the conspiracy from the list of the accused? Even though the case was referred to the CBI in March 2006, the agency did not find any case against the CPI(M) state secretary till the Left withdrew its support to the UPA government on nuclear issue. The CBIís intention in making Vijayan an accused in the case was clear. Lavlin case is nothing but a sinister plot of the anti-Left forces with the help of an investigating agency and the bourgeois media.
Reactionary media and the anti-Marxists have always attacked the CPI(M) by worst methods. And today they are using the Lavlin case to attack the CPI(M) and its leadership. But can they always keep the people in dark? Time will tell.