The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notice to Pinarayi Vijayan and two other accused in a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) appeal challegning the Kerala High Court's order upholding their discharge in the SNC- Lavalin case.
Chronology of the events in the alleged multi-crore graft case:
August 10, 1995
The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) signs a memorandum of understanding with Canadian company SNC-Lavalin for the renovation and modernization of the Pallivasal, Sengulam, and Panniar hydroelectric projects.
February 24, 1996
The board strikes a deal with the company for providing technical and supervisory support apart from financial assistance to implement the project. As per the contract, the company was told to ensure completion of the projects within three years. Consultancy charge is fixed as Rs 24.31 crore.
A high-level team led by power minister Pinarayi Vijayan travels to Canada and holds discussions with executives of SNC-Lavalin. The team puts forth a subsidiary proposal to provide a grant to the Malabar Cancer Centre as a precondition for awarding the contract. Consultancy agreements were later converted into fixed price contracts for the supply of machinery and technical services. Though the consultancy fee remained unchanged, an amount of Rs 149.15 crore was offered to procure machineries.
February 2, 1997
A committee headed by CPM leader E. Balanandan recommends against the proposal to fully replace the machineries at the three sites and suggests the procurement of only essential components by spending Rs 100.5 crore.
February 10, 1997
KSEB chairman Dr V. Rajagopal signs a supply contract with SNC-Lavalin company for the renovation of three power stations.
January 25, 1998
The KSEB sanctions the final contract.
March 3, 1998
As per the contract sanctioned by the state cabinet, the company was supposed to provide a grant of Rs 98.30 crore to the Malabar Cancer Institute, but the hospital received an amount of Rs 8.98 crore only.
The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) finds that the state exchequer incurred huge losses due to the unnecessary haste and serious deviation from prescribed procedures in awarding the Rs 374.50-crore contract to the Canadian company.
The preliminary investigation report filed by Kottayam SP (Vigilance) A.R. Prathapan calls for a detailed probe into the deal as there was substantial evidence of irregularities.
January 23, 2006
IG P. Vijayanad hands over the report submitted by the Vigilance SP to the Vigilance director.
February 6, 2006
The report containing AG’s findings on the deal was submitted to the speaker for presenting it to the legislative assembly.
February 8, 2006
The Vigilance submits in the High Court that a CBI inquiry into the case is not required.
February 13, 2006
The Vigilance recommends arraignment of nine people, including the vice-president of SNC-Lavalin and senior officials of the state electricity board. The CAG report, which alleged that the Nayanar ministry showed unnecessary haste in awarding the contract, resulting in financial losses amounting to crores to the state government, is tabled in the assembly.
February 28, 2006
The investigating agency submits its preliminary report at the special Vigilance court in which eight people, including three former chairmen of the electricity board and the vice-president of the SNC-Lavalin company, are named accused.
March 1, 2006
The Oommen Chandy ministry decides to hand over the case to the CBI. Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau director Upendra Verma was removed from the post for filing an FIR without consulting with the government.
March 10, 2006
A Vigilance report makes remarks about the disappearance of files pertaining to former power minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s involvement in the deal. The SP, who investigated the case initially, goes on extended leave.
The CBI finds prima facie evidence of non-compliance to various norms in its preliminary investigation report.
November 16, 2006
The CBI turns down the order to take over the investigation.
December 4, 2006
The V.S. Achuthanandan ministry decides not to hand over the case to the CBI.
January 2, 2007
The High Court directs the state government to submit all files and documents pertaining to the deal.
January 16, 2007
The High Court orders a CBI probe into the case.
September 18, 2008
The High Court, expressing dissatisfaction over tardy progress in the CBI investigation, instructs the agency to submit all files related to the case.
September 22, 2008
The CBI submits the case diary in the High Court.
June 7, 2009
Governor gives the nod to prosecute CPM state secretary and politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan.
June 11, 2009
The agency files charge sheet against Pinarayi Vijayan, listing him as the seventh accused in the case. The SNC-Lavalin company is arraigned as the ninth accused. The other seven accused are, former principal secretary (power) K. Mohanachandran, KSEB former member (accounts) K.G. Rajasekharan Nair, KSEB former chairman R. Sivadasan, former chief engineer (generation) M. Kasthuriranga Iyer; KSEB former chairman Siddhartha Menon, SNC-Lavalin senior vice-president Klaus Triendl, and former joint secretary (power) A. Francis.
April 23, 2010
The special court orders the CBI to investigate the Lavalin case relates to the alleged loss of Rs 86 crore to the public exchequer without fear or favor.
March 30, 2011
The Supreme Court dismisses the criminal revision petition filed by Pinarayi challenging the governor’s order to prosecute him.
September 10, 2012
The CBI submits in the court that Pinarayi had not personally benefited by the execution of the contract, and former power minister and speaker G. Karthikeyan had no role in the alleged irregularity in awarding the contract.
December 24, 2012
The CBI special court rejects Pinarayi’s plea seeking exclusion of SNC-Lavalin company and Klaus Triendl from trial.
June 18, 2013
The High Court directs the CBI to start trial against Pinarayi and other accused and file separate charge sheet against the company and its vice-president, who failed to appear in the court despite several summons.
July 17, 2013
The special court divides the trial charge sheet, removing SNC-Lavalin company and its vice-president Klaus Triendl. The court also orders an early trial for the seven other accused.
July 31, 2013
The CBI submits in the court that there is concrete evidence for Pinarayi’s role in the graft case.
October 11, 2013
The special court observes that the charge sheet submitted by the agency was ‘incomplete’.
November 5, 2013
The CBI special court discharges Pinarayi and the six others from the case.
November 25, 2013
Crime magazine editor T. P. Nandakumar files an appeal in the High Court against the exoneration of Pinarayi and the other accused by the special court.
January 31, 2014
In its revision petition filed in the High Court, the CBI contended that the special court did not take into account the huge financial loss incurred by the government and the state exchequer while discharging Pinarayi Vijayan and the other accused.
February 4, 2014
Justice N. K Balakrishnan becomes the fourth judge in the High Court, who recused from hearing the case. The court shifts the case to the bench of justice K. Ramakrishnan.
February 18, 2014
The Oommen Chandy government submits in the High Court that the exchequer suffered a loss of Rs 266.25 crore as a result of awarding the contract for the renovation and modernization of the Pallivasal, Sengulam and Panniar hydroelectric projects to SNC-Lavalin at an exorbitant cost.
February 21, 2014
All the documents pertaining to the Lavalin case are being shifted to the High Court from the CBI special court in Thiruvananthapuram.
January 13, 2016
The state government approaches the High Court seeking speedy hearing of the petition challenging the acquittal of the seven accused.
January 19, 2016
The High Court expresses doubts over the sustainability of the CBI Court’s order discharging the seven accused, including Pinarayi Vijayan, from the SNC-Lavalin case.
March 27, 2017
The CBI submits in the High Court that there is enough evidence to show criminal conspiracy at all stages of awarding the contract to the SNC-Lavalin company, and trial was necessary to prove the involvement of all the accused.
August 23, 2017
The Kerala High Court rejects CBI petition in SNC-Lavalin case and acquits chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan of all charges.
January 11, 2018
The Supreme Court issued notice to Pinarayi Vijayan and two other accused in a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) appeal challegning the Kerala High Court's order upholding their discharge in the SNC- Lavalin case. The (CBI) had submitted in the Supreme Court that the lower court endorsed the acquittal without looking into the conspiracy angle in the case.