SNC-Lavalin corruption case in India twists and turns

(November 26, 2013) A corruption trial in India involving Montreal-based engineering giant SNC-Lavalin has taken another turn.

The more than decade-long corruption case in India involving embattled Montreal-based engineering firm SNC-Lavalin took another twist this week.

An editor at a local magazine has filed a petition challenging a recent verdict from a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court that discharged State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan and six others accused of conspiracy and corruption in the SNC-Lavalin case.

According to local media, the special court ruled that CBI failed to prove that the accused gained “pecuniary advantage while awarding the contract to the SNC-Lavalin, a Canadian company.”

The petition was filed by Crime Magazine Editor, and a witness to the case, T.P. Nandakumar.

The Hindu reports that Nandakumar argued that the special court should have framed charges and conducted a trial before discharging those accused.

The allegations stem from a contract signed in 1997 between the government of Kerala, a south-western state in India, and SNC-Lavalin to rehabilitate three power plants at a cost of more than $67 million (CAD), which included consultancy fees paid to the engineering firm as well as the cost of materials and construction. But over the last ten years that contract has been criticized for being too expensivefailing to achieve power generation levels experienced prior to the rehabilitation and not following competitive bidding practices. India’s Comptroller and Auditor General had earlier conducted an investigation and declared the expenditure had been “rendered wasteful.”

You can read Probe International’s story on the corruption case, here.

You can read the recent news report from The Hindu, here.

Judge recuses himself in Lavalin case (The New Indian Express)

Update (November 29,2013): The Kerala High Court has ordered a hearing in January for the petition challenging the CBI’s Special Court order dismissing charges against Pinarayi Vijayan and others accused from the SNC-Lavalin case. Lawyers for the CBI say they will petition the order soon too, in addition to the petition filed this week by T.P. Nandakumar, editor of the magazine, Crime. (The Hindu)

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