Bineesh Balakrishnan, aka Bineesh Kodiyeri, the younger son of CPI (M) Kerala state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, is no stranger to controversies.
The 36-year-old entrepreneur-turned-actor has been under the scanner of the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the Thiruvananthapuram gold smuggling case and the Bengaluru recreational drug seizure case.
Bineesh was questioned for almost a full day on Wednesday at the ED office in Kochi. He spent close to 12 hours answering the questions by an ED team led by joint director Jaiganesh from the Chennai office.
Earlier, the ED had filed a submission in a Kochi court while seeking extension of the judicial custody of the accused Swapna Suresh in the gold smuggling case. Some of the accused in the Bengaluru drug case are suspected to be connected with the gold smuggling case, too.
“Investigations have revealed that the accused in the Bengaluru drug trafficking case registered by the Narcotics Control Bureau, Bengaluru are suspected to have assisted the accused in the gold smuggling case,” said the submission by the ED in the court. According to ED officials, the agency summoned Bineesh for interrogation following allegations of links between a key accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case and one in the Bengaluru drug case.
According to some sources, Bineesh had connections with a couple of now-defunct companies dealing with foreign exchange. One of these companies, the Thiruvananthapuram-based UAFX Solutions, allegedly paid commission to Swapna Suresh, the first accused in the gold smuggling case, for getting a visa stamping contract at the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram. The ED officials were tight-lipped about this, though.
According to the officials, the ED has recorded the primary statement of Bineesh and he may be summoned again for further questioning. His account of events will be shared with the Narcotics Control Bureau, too.
Bineesh’s name popped up in the controversy when the the youth wing of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) accused him of having close links with some members of the drug racket busted in Bengaluru. According to P K Firos, the general secretary of the Youth League, Bineesh had invested money in a hotel business of Mohammed Anoop, a key accused in the drug racket case.
Bineesh did not deny that he knew Anoop and his family and that he had assisted him financially to starting the restaurant business some years ago.
But, he categorically denied having any connection with any of Anoop’s off-the-book activities, saying he was shocked after hearing the news about Anoop’s alleged involvement in drug trafficking.
Bineesh, after coming out from the ED office late at night, did not respond to media queries about his interrogation.
He had earlier said that it has become a habit of certain sections to drag his name into each and every controversy arising in the state.
‘I am getting used to this now. I don’t remember the number of cases my name has been dragged into. The Kaviyoor and Kiliroor sex racket cases, the murder of businessman Paul Muthoot, the arrest of actor Dileep and what not? It’s become like serving pickle at feasts. Every feast has to be served with pickle, no?,” he told Azhimukham, a Malayalam portal.
Unlike many of the children of the CPI (M) leaders in Kerala, Bineesh Kodiyeri is very vocal and active in political issues. He feels that he is being targeted just because of that.
‘Look, there is a clear agenda behind this. They have not been able to touch a single CPI (M) man in connection with the gold smuggling case and they are desperately trying to implicate me to put the party in the dock. I am open for any investigation. It is my duty to divulge any information that would help the case to the investigating agencies if they want,” he said.
Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, however, said it is for the central government agencies to decide if they have to arrest his son. “The central agencies are probing the gold smuggling case. If Bineesh is found guilty of any crime, let them have him. If he is guilty of some crime that needs him to be hanged, let him be hanged. So if anyone thinks that I can be weakened by raising baseless allegations against my son, they are living in a world of fallacy. Let the investigation agencies probe it, as a parent, too, I am not going to protect my son,” the CPI (M) state secretary said in a media briefing a few days back.