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CBI to question two former Kerala ministers


Kochi : The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will soon question two former Kerala power ministers, Pinarayi Vijayan of Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) and G. Karthikeyan of the Congress party, over a contract awarded to a Canadian firm for modernisation hydro-electric plants over a decade ago.

The agency in an affidavit before the Kerala High Court Monday said that it will question both Vijayan and Karthikeyan on the issue but did not set any time frame for it.

Karthikeyan had initiated the discussions with the Canadian firm SNC Lavlin in 1995 for modernisation of three hydroelectric plants in the state. Two years later Vijayan, now CPI-M state secretary, had signed the contract.

However Comptroller and Auditor General of India found deviations from the prescribed procedures in the selection of the projects as well as in the award of the contract.

A case was filed in the Kerala High Court, which Jan 16 last year order a CBI probe into the issue.

Editor of a Malayalam magazine recently moved court over the alleged slow pace of investigation.

The affidavit, submitted by CBI, said that the issue is of a highly technical nature and hence the agency is banking on an expert panel for advice, adding, it would be inappropriate to say when the investigation would be over and when the two former ministers would be questioned.