‘Central agencies out to discredit state govt’: Kerala CM
In the wake of arrests of his former secretary in gold smuggling case and party secretary’s son in connection with Bengaluru drug racket, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday came down heavily on central agencies saying they are functioning as if they have a special agenda to discredit the state government.
“Some of these agencies are in a race to discredit the government and question policy decisions taken by it. Government officials have been summoned frequently and they are trying to sabotage some of the pet projects. We will not allow this to happen,” he said. Interestingly when the gold smuggling case surfaced in July, the CM wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking the central agency probe.
What angered the CM was the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) recent communiqué to the chief secretary seeking details of four projects of the government - K Phone, e Mobility Hub, Smarty City and Down Town. The central agency suspects that huge commission was involved in these projects also but the state government fears that more officers and leaders will be targeted by the ED.
“Some of these agencies are functioning with an agenda and statements of some of the accused are getting leaked to media selectively. Their moves are against federal polity and constitution,” he said adding that the government won’t allow any move to run down officials who are implementing important projects. He said the initial investigation in the gold smuggling case was going in the right track but it got deviated later. He said some of the opposition leaders even started disclosing what will be the next step of these agencies and it posed a question on their credibility.
But opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said the CM was getting nervous as central agencies are about to knock on his doors. “He gave a clean chit to central agencies till the other day but turned hostile when they were about to turn against him. Time is ripe for him to resign now,” he said.
Earlier the state government had moved the High Court and stayed the move of the CBI to investigate alleged irregularities in Life Mission project. A scheme to build free dwelling units for homeless, irregularities came to light when central agencies were probing the gold smuggling case.
When lockers of main accused in gold smuggling case Swapna Suresh were searched they got Rs one crore cash and two-kilogram gold. Later she reportedly told agencies that this was the commission she received for clinching a deal with an international aid agency ‘Red Crescent’ which funded the Life Mission project in Vadakancherry in Thrissur district. The central agencies suspect that Suresh and Sivasankar might have received enough commission in other projects also.
Though the government dropped the senior bureaucrat after the gold smuggling surfaced, it is really worried that he may take some big names to get out of the mess. Opposition Congress and BJP also alleged that Sivasankar won’t do such things without the knowledge of higher-ups and he was made a scapegoat.
Meanwhile, a court in Bengaluru extended the custody of Bineesh Kodiyeri, party secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan’s son, to five more days. The ED told the court that he was not cooperating with the case. He was arrested last week in connection with the Bengaluru drug racket.
Kodiyeri landed in trouble after the 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. In the remand report, the ED said he had pumped in at least Rs 5 crore in the drug business which began in 2015.