Harish Salve to defend Pinarayi Vijayan in Lavalin case

HC is considering CBI's plea against acquittal of Pinarayi by CBI Special Court.

Kochi: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has roped in Harish Salve, one of the most expensive lawyers in the country, to defend him in the controversial SNC Lavalin case.

His counsel submitted that an apex court lawyer will appear for the CM in the case. Sources said Mr Salve, who had earlier appeared in the case in the Supreme Court, will appear for Mr Vijayan, who sought to adjourn the case to March 17 so that the top lawyer can make it.

After consulting the CBI's counsel Additional Solicitor General M. K. Natarajan, the court allowed it. The HC is considering CBI's plea against the acquittal of Mr Vijayan and others by the CBI Special Court.

Meanwhile, Mr Vijayan denied the allegations against him that he mooted the proposal for a cancer hospital in Thalassery and that the primary consideration in awarding the supply contract to SNC-Lavalin without inviting global tender was the offer of the grant of Rs 98.3 crores for the Malabar Cancer Centre.

He further contended that he knowing fully well about the deal, in collusion with other accused, had fraudulently and with dishonest intention of knowing undue favour to the Lavalin entered into a non-binding memorandum of understanding(MoU) on April 25, 1998, instead of a legally binding agreement for the MCC to be established with the grant arranged by Lavalin was incorrect.

He also said that though the CBI had alleged conspiracy at a later stage, going through the materials and documents produced, there was nothing to suggest that there was a conspiracy as alleged.

There was no allegation that there was “meeting of minds” between the accused to commit an illegal act. He added that the offer made by the Lavalin was not actually part of the MoU or the first contract.

There was no offer made by the SNC-Lavalin to provide funds for the cancer centre at the time of original MoU. The idea came up in the meeting with the CBIDA held in 1996 when he and other officials visited Canada,
he contended.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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