Lavalin Case Faces 34th Delay as CBI Prioritizes Another Trial

The Lavalin case witnessed its 34th postponement in the Supreme Court, as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) cited scheduling conflicts. Attorney S V Raju, representing the CBI, conveyed his unavailability due to involvement in another case. During the proceedings chaired by Justice Suryakant, the question arose whether to reschedule or proceed at a later date. Following the CBI’s notification that S V Raju was engaged in a separate court hearing, the Supreme Court inquired if anyone had objections. With no objections raised, the Lavalin case was deferred once more. This case, listed as item 26, had experienced numerous delays due to both the defendant and plaintiff’s inconveniences.

The CBI’s appeal against the high court’s acquittal of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, former energy secretary K Mohanachandran, and former joint secretary A Francis is pending before the Supreme Court.

The genesis of this case dates back to March 1, 2006, when the state cabinet initially opted to transfer the SNC Lavalin case to the CBI. However, on December 4, 2006, the VS Government reversed this decision. Subsequently, on January 16, 2007, the high court directed the case to be handed over to the CBI. On June 11, 2009, the CBI filed a chargesheet, naming Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan as the seventh accused. On November 5, 2013, a special CBI court removed Pinarayi Vijayan from the list of accused individuals. Then, on August 23, 2017, the high court also absolved three individuals, including Pinarayi Vijayan, from the case. On December 19, 2017, the CBI filed an appeal contesting the high court’s verdict. On January 11, 2018, the Supreme Court issued a stay order on the high court’s decision, mandating that three officials, including Kasturi Ranga Iyer, face trial. Since August 27, 2020, the case has been under consideration by a new bench of the Supreme Court. The CBI has repeatedly requested postponements, as seen in this latest delay.

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