Major jolt for CPM in Kerala: CBI files foreign funds violation case in Govt’s Life Mission Project; ED registers case against CPM state secretary’s son under PMLA

    26-Sep-2020   
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In a major setback for CPM led Kerala government, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a case of Foreign Contribution (Regulations) Act (FCRA) violation in the state government’s Life Mission housing project. With CBI registering FIR in the case, the chief minister, the chairperson of Life Mission, and other ministers have also come under the scanner.
 
In connection with the case, the CBI has booked Santhosh Eapen of Unitac Builders and Developers, which managed to get the contract of the housing project. The agency has also seized several important documents pertaining to land deals from Santosh Eepan and the transaction of the commission amount paid to the accused.
 
According to the FIR, contrary to the claim of the CPM, the Life Mission is a government project and the persons in charge of the project should be subjected to probe. It also stated that the government’s claims of not receiving foreign funds are not valid. In a clear violation of FCRA, the Red Crescent paid Unitac directly through three bank accounts. Rs 4.5 crore from the Rs 20 crore worth project was paid as the commission. Swapna Suresh, a former staff of the UAE Consulate and an accused in Kerala gold smuggling scam, received a share from this. Santhosh Eapen had revealed that an amount was transferred to the company of Sandeep Nair, another accused in the gold smuggling scam.
 
The Life Mission Scam came to light when the National Investigation Agency (NIA) seized Rs 1 crore from a bank locker of Swapna Suresh. Swapna had confessed to the NIA that she received the amount as commission from the Unitac Builder as part of the Life Mission project.
 
In its reply to the ED, the state government had said that it did not take the permission of the Centre for taking funds from Red Crescent and added that there were no minutes of the meeting in which Vijayan took part to finalise the project. According to the foreign exchange rules, prior permission is required from the Centre as the agency sponsoring this housing project is a charity organisation in the UAE.
 
ED registers case against CPM state secretary’s son under PMLA
 
Meanwhile, in another jolt for CPM, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has registered a case against Bineesh Kodiyeri, son of CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan under Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The ED is investigating on his assets and sources of money.
 
The ED has directed that the properties of Bineesh should not be transacted without informing them as he is suspected to have committed crimes as per section 16,17, and 18 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
 
The ED had questioned Bineesh on September 9 in connection with the Bengaluru drugs case and Kerala gold smuggling scam. The ED has found that Bineesh Kodiyeri had close connections with Mohammed Anoop, one of the main accused in the drug peddling case.