Another Judge refuses to hear SNC Lavalin Scandal

Kochi: A judge of the Kerala High Court today withdrew himself from hearing an appeal petition in the SNC Lavalin corruption case in which CPI-M secretary Pinarayi Vijayan and six others were discharged by a CBI court last year.

Journalist T.P. Nandakumar filed the appeal petition in the high court against the exoneration of Vijayan by the CBI court.

Justice M.L. Joseph Francis Wednesday withdrew from the hearing of the case.

Earlier, two other high court judges K. Harilal and Thomas P. Joseph recused themselves from hearing the case.

On November 5 last year the CBI court accepted the discharge petition filed by Communist Party of India-Marxist secretary Pinarayi Vijayan and six others who were arraigned as accused in the graft case.

Judge R. Reghu then termed the CBI charge sheet groundless and said the prosecution failed to unravel the conspiracy, thus giving relief to Vijayan.

It was in June 2009 that the CBI filed the charge sheet against nine accused in the Rs.374 crore scam related to the Canada based SNC Lavalin company.

Vijayan as the state power minister had inked the final agreement in 1997 for renovating three power plants in the state with SNC Lavalin and was arraigned as the seventh accused.

Vijayan approached the CBI court with the discharge petition that he has done no wrong and it was accepted.