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Pinarayi Vijayan is shielding Minister Sivankutty: BJP

Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 3 Kerala BJP president K. Surendran on Tuesday said that it is the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan who is defending and shielding his cabinet colleague and State Education Minister V. Sivankutty from resigning in the wake of the apex court ruling that he along with others involved in the assembly vandalism case have to face trial.

Sivankutty along with another present legislator -- K.T. Jaleel, a former minister, and four other former legislators will also have to face trial after the Supreme Court, last Wednesday dismissed the Kerala government's plea to withdraw the cases against the CPI-M leaders for vandalism in the state Assembly in 2015.

And since then while the Congress led Opposition is up in arms both inside and outside the assembly demanding the ousting of Sivankutty, the BJP on Tuesday took to the streets in the state capital with the same demand.

"With the apex court all set to come out with its verdict in the SNC Lavalin case in which Vijayan is also facing the chances of being asked to face the trial, he is tooth and nail defending Sivankutty and is not asking him to put in his papers. If Vijayan asks Sivankutty to resign, then the same would be applicable to Vijayan also, if there is an adverse court remark," said Surendran.

The SNC Lavalin case pertains to an agreement with Canadian firm SNC Lavalin in 1997 for the renovation and modernisation of Pallivasai, Sengulam and Panniar hydroelectric projects in Idukki district of Kerala, which allegedly caused a loss of Rs 266 crore to the exchequer.

Vijayan was then the Power Minister in Kerala.

First the CBI court here and then the Kerala High Court discharged Vijayan from all criminal and corruption charges in the SNC Lavalin case, but then the CBI filed its appeal in the apex court and since 2017, the apex court has heard the case and for over two dozen times the apex court has postponed its verdict.

Meanwhile the apex court has now posted the case again for August 10 and if by any chance the apex court asks Vijayan to face trial, then no doubt the Congress led UDF and the BJP will all be out in the streets demanding the resignation of Vijayan.