Saturday, May 9, 2009

CPM rules out asking Kerala CM to quit over Lavalin case

8 May 2009 PTI

NEW DELHI: CPM on Friday ruled out any possibility of asking Kerala chief minister V S Achuthanandan to quit over his stand on the SNC Lavalin corruption case.

"No such thing is there," party general secretary Prakash Karat said when asked about reports that the Kerala unit had asked Achuthanandan to quit over his government's stand on the case.

The reports came as the opposition Congress-led UDF stepped up attack on the ruling LDF and demanded that Governor R S Gavai reject the state cabinet decision to deny permission to CBI to prosecute CPM state secretary and politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan in the graft case.

The state cabinet had on Wednesday endorsed the legal opinion given by the advocate general that there was no ground to permit CBI to prosecute Vijayan. The case pertains to alleged corruption in awarding of contract to Canadian firm SNC-Lavalin for renovating three hydro power stations in 1997 when Vijayan was the power minister.

In February, the party politburo had stood firmly with Vijayan saying the case was "politically motivated" and the CBI was "not immune from political pressure in the hands of the ruling party at the Centre." On his part, Vijayan had also rejected any demand for removal of Achuthanandan from the chief minister's post, saying it was "absurd".

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