Thiruvananthapuram: Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala on Saturday said the decision of the Kerala government to approach the high court to prevent the ongoing CBI probe into the Life Mission housing project was because there was a likelihood that the probe might lead to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Speaking to the media here on Saturday, Chennithala said it was rather strange that the government had approached the high court stating that the CBI need not probe the alleged corruption in the Life Mission project as the state government was not involved and it pertained to the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).
“However, on June 13, 2017, this very same Vijayan government came out with an extraordinary gazette asking the CBI to probe all FCRA violations in the state. Now Vijayan is asking the high court that the CBI need not probe the FCRA violations into the Life Mission project. All are surprised at the happenings under Vijayan. One day he brings out an order for a probe, another day he goes to the court against his own order,” said Chennithala.
“Vijayan is jittery because the ongoing CBI probe into the Life Mission project might reach him and his cabinet colleagues and, hence, he is trying his best to do whatever he can to thwart the CBI probe. But the high court has said, let the probe continue. All through Vijayan has been saying that the state government has no role. If it is so, then why is he so worried at the probe moving forward,” added Chennithala.
In the Life Mission project, billed as the pet project of Vijayan, the construction of the 140 flats was handed over to Santhosh Eapen’s firm Unitac Builders. It is believed that the person behind the deal was Swapna Suresh as this project was funded by the UAE based charity organisation Red Crescent, and was routed through the UAE Consulate.
Swapna Suresh is a former employee of the UAE Consulate. Ahead of finalising this project in the UAE by Vijayan, Swapna had reached the UAE along with now suspended senior IAS official M. Sivasankar, who was also the former secretary to Vijayan.
“The chairman of Life Mission is Vijayan, the project was mooted by him and discussions took place under him. He went to the UAE for this and finally the MoU was signed in his presence and yet he says there is no role of the government in this. Things are strange,” said Chennithala.
Chennithala also pointed out that it was unfortunate that some people were spreading canards about him as he is opposing and bringing out news about Vijayan, and the latest was about an iPhone which he got from Eapen.
“It was on December 2 last year, I went to take part in the UAE Raising Day celebrations here and there was a lucky draw, and I distributed a few awards to the winners. Yesterday, I wrote to the state police chief to conduct a probe on who all got the six iPhones. Of the six phones, three were given to the winners of the lucky draw.
“One of the winners was C. Rajeev, the private secretary to Kodiyeri Balakrishnan — (the present CPI-M state secretary and former Home Minister). Yesterday Balakrishnan was saying that I breached protocol. But I went to the function, where the chief guest was Vijayan. Moreover, Rajeev today is the state assistant protocol officer,” added Chennithala.