Life Mission: None gifted me any i-phone, says Chennithala

After a row broke outin Kerala over an i-phone gift, senior Congress leader RameshChennithala denied claims that he was offered the largesse bySwapna Suresh, a key accused in Gold smuggling case, after heattended a function at the UAE consulate here last year.

Chennithala told reporters here that none had gifted hima mobile phone and he had in fact bought one for himself andhis wife during a visit to a gulf nation.

“None has gifted me any i-phone. I have not taken anyphone from anyone either. These are cheap tactics to tarnishus,” the Leader of Opposition said.

He said he had been invited by the consulate, wheresuresh was working earlier, for a function in which he was thechief guest and had been requested to handover mobile phonesto some lucky dip winners, which he had obliged.

Chennithala also said he would initiate legal actionagainst such reports.

The controversy erupted after contents of a petitionfiled by Santosh Eappen, Managing Director of Unitac Buildersand Developers, which had been entrusted to build the LifeMission Project flats at Wadakkancherry, in the Kerala HighCourt emerged on Friday.

In the petition, Eappen had submitted that Swapna Sureshhad demanded 5 i-phones from him for presenting them to theChief Guest and other delegates of the National Daycelebration of the UAE, held on December 2, last year.

“The phones were handed over to Suresh as demanded. Thosephones were presented to Ramesh Chennithala, who was thechief guest and others,” it was stated.

Asked about the phone gift, Congress MP K Muraleedharansaid Chennithala had himself clarified that he had notreceived any such present.

The UDF and Congress workers were not in such a pitiablestate to accept a mobile phone from Suresh, he said.

Eappen, in the petition moved in the High court onThursday submitted that the registration of the FIR by the CBIon the basis of the complaint by MLA Anil Akkakara was ultravires and falls outside the scope of the Delhi Special PoliceEstablishment Act as no consent was taken by the stategovernment.

The court had on Thursday declined the state governmentsplea to stay the CBI probe into the Life Mission project foralleged FCRA violation and had permitted the central agencyto continue with its preliminary probe.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had accused theOpposition Congress of “creating legal entanglements” to theproject, which aims to build homes for the poor and had saidthe FIR filed by CBI, does not have any legal standing.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)

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