ED sends notice to Bineesh Kodiyeri on money laundering, freezes transaction of assets
Two weeks after questioning him, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday sent a notice to Bineesh Kodiyeri, Kerala CPI(M) secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan’s son, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and frozen all transactions of his properties.
Trouble began for Kodiyeri after Bengaluru drug racket accused Anoop Mohammad gave a statement to the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in which he mentioned his name. He said Bineesh Kodiyeri, second son of Balakrishnan, had helped him a lot in his “business venture”. Later his name also figured prominently in the call list of Mohammad.
Kodiyeri later admitted that he knew Mohammad and helped him in opening a hotel in Bengaluru but he was not aware of his alleged drug dealings. However, later the ED found that two shell companies floated by Kodiyeri, B Capital Solutions and B Capital Forex, were allegedly involved in many shoddy deals. Floated in 2015, both firms had failed to file tax returns and other formalities and the ED suspects these firms were floated for alleged money laundering and hawala transactions. The ED had questioned him for over 11 hours in Kochi on September 9.
The notice sent by the ED deputy director in Kochi stated that no transaction of immovable assets should be carried out without prior permission of the investigating agency. The ED has also asked the state registration department to file details of all his properties. It is also probing his source of income and investments. Besides ED, there are reports that that he may be summoned to Bengaluru by the NCB.
During investigation into the gold smuggling case, the ED has found that there is a close link between the smuggling and psychedelic drug cases. The smuggling case came to light on July 5 after 30 kg gold was seized from a consignment that came in the name of the United Arab Emirates consular office in Thiruvananthapuram. And the drug surfaced on August 28 after the arrest of Anoop Mohammad and two others in Bengaluru.
There are also allegations that Kodiyeri helped Swapna Suresh, the main accused in the gold smuggling case, to flee from the state after the seizure of the gold. Later customs also found that one of those arrested in the gold smuggling case K T Ramees was in touch with drug racket accused Anoop Mohammad. The alleged involvement of the party secretary’s son has invited enough embarrassment for the ruling party and the secretary distanced himself saying, “Parents can’t be held responsible for grown up children’s doings.”
Soon after the gold smuggling surfaced, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking a detailed central agency probe. Now at least five central agencies are probing the smuggling and related cases-- the letter has put the CM in a tricky situation as most of those interrogated are close to the government-- former IAS officer M Sivsanakar, CM’s former IT fellow Arun Balachandran, state higher education minister KT Jaleel and party secretary’s son Bineesh Kodiyeri are among them.
The party’s youth wing Democratic Youth Federation of India said the BJP government at the Centre was using central agencies to weaken a democratically-elected government. But the opposition Congress and BJP say central agencies came only after the CM’s letter. Having taken a big bite, the ruling party is in a position to either swallow or vomit it out, say political observers.