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Kerala High Court acquits Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in graft case

In a big relief to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, the Kerala High Court today acquitted him in a graft case that was filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The Kerala High Court pronounced its judgment, saying that CBI did not have any solid evidence to prove the involvement of Pinarayi Vijayan. The case involved a Canadian company named SNC-Lavalin, which was hired by Kerala government in 1995 to renovate the hydraulic power stations at Pallivasal, Sengulam, and Panniar. These power stations were located in the Idukki district of Kerala. The contract was given by the then Congress-led UDF government. However, there were irregularities in the deal, which resulted in the alleged loss of Rs 374.50 crore to the state exchequer.

In 1996, it is alleged that Pinarayi Vijayan gave a Rs 374 crore contract for a 100MW power project without tender. He also granted Rs 100 crore to Malabar Cancer Center. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had found serious discrepancies in the deal and had pointed out that equipment was supplied by firms other than Lavalin at much higher costs. It was due to the CAG report that the Kerala High Court had ordered a CBI inquiry against Pinarayi Vijayan and others in January 2007.

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