Kerala

ED issues fresh summons to Raveendran

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued a second summons to C.M. Raveendran, additional private secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Officials said the ED had asked Mr. Raveendran to present himself at the agency’s office in Kochi on November 27. He is currently in the hospital for post-COVID complications.

Mr. Raveendran had pleaded inability to appear before the ED earlier on the ground that he had contracted COVID-19.

Officials said the ED wanted to question Mr. Raveendran in connection with its ongoing investigation into the money laundering aspect of the gold smuggling case primarily.

Indicating the probable tack of the ED’s impending investigation, an official pointed out that the agency had told the Special Court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in Kochi that it was also probing the suspected “kickbacks in the various infrastructure contracts” being implemented by the State government.

The ED had also deposed that former Principal Secretary to Mr. Vijayan, M. Sivasankar, and his “team in the CMO” were “fully aware” of the illegal import of gold via the “diplomatic channel” of the UAE consulate.

Officials said the agency considered Mr. Raveendran a “consummate CMO insider and prime mover” behind several infrastructure projects now under the agency’s “radar”.

LDF slams CAG, ED

The news of the summons broke against the backdrop of a Statewide mobilisation of LDF workers against perceived attempts by Central agencies and the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to wreck Kerala’s development by “unfairly targeting” the KIIFB, LIFE Mission and other mega projects such as K-Fon and E-Mobility.

LDF convenor and acting CPI (M) State secretary A. Vijayaraghavan, who inaugurated the protests, described the ED’s actions as a political move to discredit the State government in the election year.

UDF flays govt.

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said Mr. Vijayan had trammelled on the Constitution by unleashing a vitriolic attack against the CAG. The CAG had merely pointed out the illegality in KIIFB masala bonds.

Mr. Chennithala said Mr. Vijayan’s words reflected his apprehension that the ongoing investigations would reach his office.

BJP demand

BJP State president K. Surendran said Mr. Raveendran's impending interrogation by the ED would expose the corrupt underbelly of the LDF government.

He said KIIFB was a vehicle for big-ticket corruption involving the CPM leadership.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2021 6:20:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/ed-issues-fresh-summons-to-raveendran/article33177871.ece

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