The Rs 2-crore tainted funds scandal that rocked the state CPI(M) and its multi-edition mouthpiece, Deshabhimani, came full circle on Tuesday with the state committee deciding to re-appoint CPI(M) Central Committee member E P Jayarajan as general manager of the newspaper.
Jayarajan was removed from the job last year after a media expose showed Deshabhimani had accepted Rs 2 crore from lottery scamster, Santiago Martin, wanted in Kerala for allegedly evading tax worth crores of rupees. Martin, who trails a slew of arrest warrants, has been in hiding. While removing Jayarajan, the CPI(M) had officially stated his “failure to exercise due diligence” in accepting money from a tainted source as the reason.
The CPI(M) had initially claimed the money from Martin and his son was taken as a “bond”.
It later contradicted that to say it was an “advance” against advertisement costs after it turned out that Deshabhimani could not have legally floated bonds. Later, party leaders also described it as a “loan”, before finally coming back to claiming it was a bond.
The Vigilance Department was asked to probe the issue after a lawyer filed a petition in the Vigilance Court alleging a corrupt quid-pro-quo between Martin and the ruling CPI(M) in return for the favour.
The DSP who probed it, however, reported that he found no evidence to substantiate the corruption charge and the court dropped the case. The Vigilance also refused to go into whether the CPI(M) organ was authorised to float bonds, maintaining it was upto the SEBI or the RBI to look into it.
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