Summons to Vijayan, 8 Others in Graft Scam

A special court has issued summons to CPM leader and former Kerala minister Pinarayi Vijayan and eight others in graft scam, two weeks after a charge sheet was filed against him.

CBI Special Judge K P Jothindranath instructed the accused to appear before the court on September 24.

At the same time, the judge also instructed the CBI for further probe into the role of former Kerala power minister G Karthikeyan and state Electricity Board member R Gopalakrishnan in the scam. Both of them were excluded in the charge sheet filed on June 11.

“I order further investigation as no charge sheet had been filed against the persons described as accused in the final report on the ground that mens rea (intention or knowledge of wrongdoing) is lacking and evidence is not forthcoming,” the judge said.

The charge sheet listed Vijayan as the seventh accused in alleged corruption in granting contracts of renovation of three hydel projects to Candadian firm SNC Lavalin when Vijay was power minister in 1998.

The charge sheet was filed after Kerala Governor R S Gavai gave sanction to prosecute Vijayan, overriding state cabinet’s recommendation against it. Gavai’s sanction had stirred up a controversy with ruling CPI-M describing it as “politically motivated”. But striking a discordant note, Chief Minister and Vijayan’s arch rival V S Achuthanandan virtually endorsed it, saying Governors had discretionary powers to sanction prosecution.

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