Kottayam (Kerala), Feb 9 (PTI) The BJP in Kerala on Friday accused Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his daughter Veena T of trying to obstruct the SFIO probe against her firm by moving the Karnataka High Court, while the ruling CPI(M) in the state labelled the investigation politically motivated.
BJP state president K Surendran alleged that the CM initially tried to use the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) to obstruct the probe by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) by moving the Kerala High Court.
"When that failed, then another company -- that of CM's daughter -- which is facing SFIO probe decided to obstruct it by moving the Karnataka High Court," he claimed, and went on to target the Congress, alleging that Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the State Assembly V D Satheesan was the man behind the move.
Surendran also questioned why Veena's firm -- Exalogic -- moved the Karnataka High Court when the CPI(M) said that they were not afraid of any probe by any agency.
State Fisheries Minister Saji Cheriyan, on the other hand, defended the CM and his daughter, characterising the SFIO probe as "politically motivated".
He said that the Centre was using various agencies to investigate several things in the state to target the ruling Left government, but all those moves have "proven ineffective".
The minister complained that the CM and his family have been politically targeted for a long time and the probe against Veena and her now-defunct firm is just the latest instance of the same.
While accusing the CM and his daughter of trying to obstruct the SFIO probe, Surendran said that Satheesan was the mastermind behind it, as the investigation by the agency would reach many UDF leaders as well, who have allegedly received monthly payments from one of the companies under investigation.
"I suspect even Satheesan might have received such payments. He is not acting as an opposition leader. He is trying to protect the CM," the BJP state president alleged.
The SFIO had on Wednesday, February 7, visited the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation's head office in Thiruvananthapuram. Two days before that it had visited the office of Cochin Minerals and Rutile Ltd (CMRL), which has been accused of making payments to Veena's firm Exalogic without receiving any of the company's services in return.
Last year, a Malayalam daily reported that CMRL had paid a total of Rs 1.72 crore to Veena between 2017 and 2020. The news report cited the ruling of an interim board for settlement and said that CMRL previously had an agreement with Veena's IT firm for consultancy and software support services.
It alleged that though no service was rendered by her firm, the amount was paid on a monthly basis "due to her relationship with a prominent person".
This year, another report cited findings by the Registrar of Companies (ROC) against Veena's firm.
Referring to the ROC report, the Congress-led UDF opposition had accused Veena's firm of having committed the offence of receiving money using false documents and without providing services. PTI HMP SDP ANE