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I-T officer who gave clean chit to Kerala CM in Lavalin case now his personal staff, says BJP leader

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Kochi, Feb 13 (PTI) Veteran Kerala politician P C George's son, Shaun George, on Tuesday alleged that a former Income Tax (I-T) officer who had given a clean chit to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the SNC Lavalin case was now in the CM's personal staff.

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George, along with his son Shaun, joined the BJP recently.

At a press conference here, Shaun said that the former Additional Director-level officer, who had given the clean chit to the CM in 2008 in the I-T department's probe into the SNC Lavalin issue, was now a special officer in Vijayan's personal staff.

The BJP leader said that he would be filing a complaint regarding this either with the I-T department or the Union Finance Ministry.

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He raised a suspicion that the former I-T officer's inclusion in Vijayan's staff after retirement was a "reward" for the clean chit.

The Kerala High Court on August 23, 2017 had upheld the discharge of Vijayan and two others in the matter, saying the CBI had "wrongly picked" Vijayan, as prima facie there was no case against him.

The high court's order had come on CBI's plea challenging their discharge by a special court in Thiruvananthapuram.

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The special court had in November 2013 discharged Vijayan and others of the charge of alleged corruption in awarding a contract to Canadian firm SNC-Lavalin, that had allegedly caused a loss to the state exchequer, when Vijayan was the power minister in 1996.

The agency, in its plea before the top court, claimed that there was ample material to prima facie show conspiracy in the case and this evidence could be appreciated at the trial stage.

The CBI had earlier argued before the high court that there was sufficient evidence to prove the charges against the accused.

The trial court, while discharging Vijayan and others, had observed that the agency had failed to prove the charges of conspiracy and corruption against them.

The CBI had alleged that there was a conspiracy in awarding a contract to revamp power projects to the Canadian firm in 1996. PTI HMP SDP HMP SDP KH

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