Updated: August 6, 2021 4:07:02 am
Following the Enforcement Directorate notice to IUML Kerala president Syed Hyder Ali Shihab Thangal, cracks have emerged between the influential Panakkad Thangal family, which controls the Congress ally, and its senior leader P K Kunhalikutty.
Thangal’s son, Sayyid Moyeeen Ali Shihab Thangal, Thursday blamed Kunhalikutty for “dragging his father’s name” into an alleged money laundering case involving a bank account of the party mouthpiece Chandrika.
Kunhalikutty, who had quit as a member of Lok Sabha and contested the recent state elections, is second-in-command in the Congress-led United Development Front alliance. He is the IUML parliamentary party leader in the Assembly.
Moyeen Thangal’s comments came a day before his father was to appear before the ED. Thangal senior is the printer and publisher of the Chandrika.
The allegations had surfaced during a vigilance probe into a corruption case against former minister and IUML leader V K Ibrahim Kunju related to the construction of a flyover in Kochi last year
Moyeen Thangal alleged that it was Kunhalikutty who had been handling the financial matters at Chandrika.
“The Panakkad family, in its history, had never faced this situation. My father is under severe mental pressure. Party has shrunken into a person. It was Kunhalikutty who appointed the finance manager in party daily Chandrika, but he had not so far intervened in the financial crisis in the daily,’’ Moyeen Thangal told reporters at party headquarters in Kozhikode.
As he continued to speak, an IUML worker, reportedly close to Kunhalikutty, disrupted the press conference. This forced Moyeen Thangal to abruptly wind up the event.
The incident is likely to impact IUML and, eventually, the Congress-led UDF. IUML provides UDF’s main support base in North Kerala districts.
The Malappuram-based Thangal family, which has been controlling IUML for several decades, also wields considerable spiritual clout in the Muslim community in Kerala.
The public statement against Kunhalikutty did not go down well with the party with its state general secretary PMA Salam accusing him of violating the party’s discipline. “The party allows freedom of expression but it should be expressed in the party forum.Hyderali Thangal has directed that the opinions should not be expressed outside the party forum,” Salam told a news channel.
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