The Kerala government on Wednesday moved the high court, seeking that the CBI probe into the alleged FCRA violations in a state housing project funded by Emirates Red Crescent, be quashed.
The development comes at a time the central agency has initiated steps to question senior IAS officers who have been party to the MoU between the Life Mission and UAE Consulate for construction of the Rs 20-crore apartment complex at Wadakkanchery in Thrissur.
Earlier, Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the smuggling of gold through diplomatic cargo to the UAE Consulate-General’s office in Thiruvananthapuram and a former executive secretary at the consulate, reportedly told investigators that she received kickbacks from a builder executing the project.
The CBI has named building firm UNITAC’s managing director Santhosh Eapen as one of the accused and has made “unknown officials’’ of Life Mission as other accused. The agency has issued notice to Life Mission CEO and senior IAS official U V Jose. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is chairman of Life Mission, a flagship housing project of the government.
Meanwhile, the state government Wednesday allowed the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau to register a case into alleged irregularities in the apartment project. The bureau, which held a preliminary probe, had already taken into custody several documents pertaining to the deal.
The government, in its petition, told the high court that the Red Crescent of the UAE had come forward with a financial aid of Rs 20 crore for the apartment project and it was up to the sponsor to select the agency for construction.
Questioning the intention of the CBI, the government said the Life Mission has not violated FCRA regulations as the deal was between Red Crescent and the selected builder.
The state government’s move comes at a time when its petition challenging the CBI’s probe into political murders of two Congress workers in 2019 is pending in the Supreme Court. A single-judge bench of Kerala High Court had ordered a CBI probe into the conspiracy behind the murders, but the state crime branch refused to hand over the probe.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines