The CPI-M is in a spot over the Rs 374.5 crore SNC Lavalin case with the party politburo member and Kerala state secretary of the party Pinarayi Vijayan being charge sheeted by the CBI as the ninth accused in the case. The issues related to the case originated when the LDF government led by EK Nayanar decided to sign an MoU with the Canadian company SNC Lavalin for the maintenance of Panniyar, Sengulam and Pallivasal hydro electric projects.
The charge is that the company has not properly conducted the maintenance work for the amount they had claimed and that it has also not provided the money which it had promised to the multi-crore cancer hospital coming up in Thalassery, the hometown of Vijayan. Vijayan was then the power minister in the Nayanar cabinet of 1996.
According to the report of the Accountant General the deal has resulted in a loss of the exchequer'smoney. The UDF government had initiated a CBI probe into the same after the state vigilance had cleared Vijayan and the other accused. The CBI had taken over the investigation following the directive of the Kerala High Court on the basis of a PIL filed by the editor of the Crime newspaper TP Nandakumar. The CBI has charge sheeted eleven persons in the case with the then power secretary Mohanachandran as the first accused and the CPI-M leader and former minister Pinarayi Vijayan as the ninth accused. There were allegations that the Canadian company has promised assistance to the cancer hospital in Thalassery. But there are clear indications that the money earmarked for the cancer hospital project was siphoned off and the CBI had also conducted primary enquiry into this allegation and sources indicated that this was also a major charge.
The charge sheeting of Vijayan in the case has opened up a Pandora'sbox in the state politics with the opposition Congress and the BJP demanding the removal of Vijayan from the post of the CPI-M state secretary and calling upon the LDF government to advise the governor to recommend on the prosecution of Pinarayi Vijayan. The group war in the CPI-M which was hitherto in the silence following the ruthless majority enjoyed by the official faction of the CPI-M has once again resurfaced with banners and posters depicting Vijayan as an agent of the bourgeoisie has appeared throughout the state and surprisingly even in the CPI-M bastions of Kannur and Kasargod. According to political observers demand for the removal of Vijayan from the post of party secretary is active in the grassroots of the CPI-M with the party cadres openly demanding his removal in even the communist heartland of Kannur where the CPI-M is enjoying a massive majority and is using its goonda squads to physically annihilate the political opponents of the party with several RSS and BJP cadres and leaders getting killed or maimed for life in this CPI-M red bastion. The CPI-M of the state has been facing reverses ever since the Achuthanandan government has assumed office and the CPI-M has tasted defeat at the hands of rebels in several parts of the state with the party even losing power in Ottapalam municipality to the party rebels who were expelled following their refusal to toe the corrupt line of the present leadership.
The Chief Minister Achuthanandan who is silently trying to emerge as Mr Clean of the CPI-M in the state had flown to Delhi even as the CBI had charge sheeted Vijayan and sources in the party told this correspondent that the Chief Minister had demanded the party general secretary Prakash Karat'sintervention to remove Vijayan from the post. Sources close to Chief Minister said that Achuthanandan had categorically told the PB that he would wait only for a few more days and that he cannot in no way support the decision to reinstate Vijayan even after the premier investigating agency of the country has charge sheeted him in a multicrore deal.
The Chief Minister according to sources has maintained that all his fights against corruption would become a farce if he does not take a strong position to remove Vijayan. However the party official faction which is enjoying a massive majority in all elected party positions is in no mood to relent and has categorically ruled out any decision from the PB to remove the beleaguered party secretary. In fact the party has decided to defend Vijayan by throwing its weight against him and to conduct massive programmes in the grassroot levels to prove his innocence.
The CPI-M has also charged the ruling Congress party in the centre with having influenced the CBI to frame the CPI-M state secretary as the general elections are in the threshold and the CPI-M is the major opponent of the Congress in the state. The CPI-M which has already started using its information network to spread this across the state. However there are clear indications that the CPI-M would be cornered in this deal as sources have indicated that the CBI has gone ahead with the case meticulously and in a step by step manner.