New Delhi: A CBI plea against the acquittal of Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the SNC-Lavalin case will be heard by the Supreme Court in the first week of April. The court will also consider the appeals of three former state government employees who were found guilty by the Kerala High Court in the high-profile corruption case.

The high court had acquitted Pinarayi, former energy secretary K Mohanachandran and former joint secretary A Francis in the case. R Sivadas, Kasturiranga Iyer and K G Rajasekharan, who were with the Kerala State Electricity Board at the time of the commissioning of the controversial projects, were found guilty.

The case has its origin in a claim that the state exchequer suffered a loss of Rs 374 crore because of a contract with Canada’s SNC-Lavalin company for revamping Pallivasal, Chenkulam and Panniyar hydel projects.

The CBI’s case against the CPM leader was thrown out by the high court but the investigating agency alleges that the court had not gone into the conspiracy angle in the case.

The CBI maintains that the case against the three acquitted was prima facie strong. The evidence of the conspiracy could only be established in a trial, the agency told the Supreme Court.

Early last year, the Supreme Court had issued notice to Pinarayi and other accused who had been let off, seeking a reply from them. Additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, then said this was a case that required an interference by the top court and that the notices must go to all the accused. The court accepted the CBI’s plea and issued the notices.

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