Ruckus in Kerala Assembly over ED report on Life Mission case

A Congress MLA read out the ED report regarding a case involving the Kerala chief minister’s former principal secretary

Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala

The Kerala assembly was in uproar on Tuesday (February 28) after a Congress MLA dramatically read out an Enforcement Directorate (ED) report containing charges against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in what is known as the Life Mission case.

The report was read out by Mathew Kuzhalnadan during an adjournment notice moved by him regarding the case in which Vijayan’s former principal secretary M Sivasankar is facing a probe by the Enforcement Directorate.

The ED is investigating the alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution (Regulations) Act in Life Mission, a flagship housing project of the Left government.

ED report

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Kuzhalnadan contended that according to the report, Sivasankar told the central agency that there was a meeting between him, the chief minister, the UAE consul general and Swapna Suresh, an accused in the gold smuggling case.

He contended that as per the report, Sivasankar said that he briefed Vijayan after Suresh was appointed to the post of Operations Manager in the Space Park project under the Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Ltd.

Kuzhalnadan demanded to know if the chief minister can deny these allegations. Vijayan responded by categorically denying that anything read out by the legislator ever happened.

MLA-CM spat

When the Congress MLA questioned why the chief minister was not moving the court against such a wrong report, Vijayan retorted that he does not need legal advice from the Congress member.

After Vijayan’s reply, several ruling front lawmakers left their seats and created an uproar in the House by trying to shout down Kuzhalnadan.

Law Minister P Rajeeve initially said Kuzhalnadan should table in the House the contents of the document he was reading from. He contended that a remand report being considered by a court cannot be discussed in the assembly.

Kuzhalnadan said he was willing to table the remand report.

However, the shouting match between the opposition and ruling front MLAs continued and Speaker A N Shamseer was forced to briefly adjourn the House.

Heated exchanges

The assembly was disrupted on Monday too following heated exchanges between the ruling Left front and the opposition UDF on an adjournment motion by the latter to discuss the alleged police brutality recently against youth wing workers of the Congress and IUML.

The CBI had in 2020 filed an FIR in a Kochi court under Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code and Section 35 of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) on a complaint by the then Wadakkanchery Congress MLA Anil Akkara listing Santosh Eappen, managing director of Unitac Builder, Kochi, as the first accused and Sane Ventures as the second accused.

The two companies had undertaken the construction based on the agreement entered with them by Red Crescent, an international humanitarian movement, which had agreed to provide ₹20 crore towards the Life Mission project.

The Congress alleged that there was corruption involved in the selection of the contractor by Red Crescent.

(With inputs from agencies)

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