Sunday, 23 September, 2018

CM accused of looting Ockhi funds for personal expenses

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan in his office in Thiruvananthapuram Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan in his office in Thiruvananthapuram
Kenny Thornton | 13 January, 2018, 08:58

A bench of Justice N.V. Ramana and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer also stayed trial in the case pertaining to an agreement with Canadian firm SNC-Lavalin in 1997 to fix three generators, which allegedly caused a loss of Rs 266 crore to the exchequer.

The court also sought the response of the investigation agency on pleas made by Mr. Iyer, Mr Nair and R. Sivadasan as to why they were not treated on a par with Mr. Vijayan and the two co-accused who were released from all charges in the case.

A Communist Party of India (CPI) leader on Tuesday compared Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump, saying all three treat the media with disdain.

The apex court, which is hearing an appeal filed by other accused in the case who had not been discharged by the Kerala High Court, stayed the trial till further orders and issued notices to Vijayan, K. Mohanachandran and A Francis. Vijayan along with other accused was acquitted by the Thiruvananthapuram special court earlier.

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The Kerala government spent Rs 10.5 lakh for an 8-member Central team that visited the state to assess damages from Cyclone Ockhi. "Continuation of trial will be detrimental to us now", Rohatgi said on behalf of his client.

Meanwhile, Pinarayi slammed the Central government, claiming that while the Centre allocated only '134 crore for Ockhi relief, the state could raise more or less the same amount from the public here. In 2007 the Kerala High Court ordered a CBI inquiry into the case. The post eventually went to Vijayan's senior and bitter rival VS Achuthanandan despite the latter's advancing age.

"The government fund was utilised for a private goal", he said alleging the Chief Minister "has committed corruption to the tune of Rs eight Lakhs (cost incurred for the journey)". It was Vijayan's "veto" that dashed the party's Bengal faction's effort of securing a third Rajya Sabha term for Sitaram Yechury a year ago.

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