All accused, except the three discharged - including Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan - are facing trial for causing a loss of Rs 86.25 crore in the KSEB's contracts with Canadian company SNC Lavalin for the renovation and modernisation of Pallivasai, Sengulam and Panniar hydroelectric power projects in Idukki district of Kerala.
After protests, the government was forced to cancel the order for payment of Vijayan's helicopter journey from the State Disaster Relief Fund. "This is a usual practise", he said addressing a public meeting organised in connection with the ruling CPI (M)'s district conference in Idukki.
The meeting with the chief minister took place before the team dispersed to different locations from the state capital.
However, he did not name anyone. These things happen normally.
The CBI, in its appeal, said there was "ample material to show the involvement" of Mr. Vijayan in the Lavalin deal. He also flayed the statement of BJP that the Centre should monitor the utilisation of Ockhi relief fund.
Pinarayi recalled the visit of an official team from Kerala, including Governor P Sathasivam, himself, former CM Oommen Chandy and Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala to attend the funeral of former Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa.
Meanwhile, the CPI (M) Secretariat has decided that the relief fund should not be used to pay for the CM's copter bill. The BJP President Kummanam Rajasekharan said diverting SDRF fund was a "heartless" action and a criminal offence. The LDF government also came in for criticism from the Latin Catholic Church, to which most of the cyclone affected fishermen belong, over the issue.
There is an attempt to portray the incident as a theft by the CM, he said. He also said neither he nor his office was aware of the controversial order.
After meeting the central government team, Vijayan flew back to Thrissur and his government debited the chopper ride's expenses to the relief fund.
Revenue minister E Chandrasekharan has also asked for an explanation from additional chief secretary (revenue and disaster management) PH Kurien, over the issue.
The Supreme Court on Thursday put on hold the trial in the SNC Lavalin case until further orders, and accepted the Central Bureau of Investigation's plea against discharging Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan from the corruption charges, The Hindu reported.
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