As CBI comes knocking, Kerala CPI-M turns jittery

Updated: Sep 26,2020 07:21 GMT

social social social social As CBI comes knocking, Kerala CPI-M turns jittery

IANS

Tags: National
Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 26 (IANS) The ruling CPI-M in Kerala seems to be jittery for the first time since the arrival of the CBI to probe the irregularities in "Life Mission", the pet project of Chief Minister of Pinarayi Vijayan.

Till the other day, those batting for Chief Minister, who was trying to take credit for writing to the Centre to conduct probe by any agency into the various allegations, are now looking grim.

The now controversial gold smuggling case first surfaced in July after the Customs arrested a former public relations officer, P.S. Sarith, of the UAE Consulate and the NIA picked up Swapna Suresh, who has links with the top police officers and bureaucrats.

The Customs was followed by the NIA, ED and now the CBI. Things suddenly went wrong, when the news came on Friday that the CBI had taken over the probe into the 'Life Mission' project at Wadakkancherry in Thrissur. The CPI-M was quick to release a statement that this was nothing but politically motivated and misuse of power.

The CBI on Friday not only filed a detailed report in the special court here on the Kerala government's now controversial Life Mission housing project, but also registered a case that was filed at the Ernakulam Chief Judicial magistrate court.

In the FIR, it has named Santhosh Eapen, who heads the company which secured the contract to construct the housing project and other employees of the firm.

The CBI has registered the case citing a criminal conspiracy and serious violations of the foreign exchange rules.

This is seen as a huge setback to Vijayan, who was losing his cool whenever the media questioned him on the issue. Sensing trouble, it was on Wednesday that Vijayan decided to order a Vigilance probe into the project.

Kerala BJP president K. Surendran on Saturday told the media that this Vigilance probe was announced by Vijayan 'to ensure that all the files pertaining to the case are kept out' of public glare.

"Already there is a report that on Friday evening itself Vigilance sleuths came and took away four crucial files of Life Mission. But this is not going to help in any manner as the CBI will ensure that the probe takes place in the proper manner," said Surendran.

Two time former Congress Chief Minister Oommen Chandy questioned the state government on raking the political angle to the case.

"It was Vijayan's media advisor and a state Minister who said that this housing project was a corrupt one. They said Rs 4.50 crore commission was paid. So how can the CPI-M now say that this is a politically motivated one. This project was in the limelight for long and the government announced a Vigilance probe only, a few days back," said Chandy.

The ruling party got a further shock when CPI-M Kerala State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan's son Bineesh Kodiyeri on Saturday was served a notice by the ED under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

Besides, the ED has now asked him to give the list of his assets and they have also directed the State Registration department to prepare a list of his assets and to see that there is no transfer or sale of his assets (properties) without their knowledge.

The ED move comes after Bineesh was questioned by them on September 9 for 11 hours.

Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala asked Balakrishnan to explain the happenings and also said, "He cannot be silent anymore".

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