KIIFB case | Kerala

KIIFB case: Either state the nature of offence or recall summons, Thomas Isaac tells ED

T.M. Thomas Isaac. File photo

T.M. Thomas Isaac. File photo | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

Former Finance Minister T. M. Thomas Isaac on Thursday, August 11, 2022, demanded the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to either explain the nature of the Foreign Exchange Managament Act (FEMA) violation that he has committed or else withdraw the summons asking him to appear before the agency.

A day after filing a writ petition in the Kerala High Court seeking to quash the notices issued by the ED, Mr. Isaac said that the two summons issued to him ''are unilateral and neglects to mention the nature of the offence.'' ''I should be told what the offence is that I have committed. Or else, recall the notices. Since they may not do so, I have also approached the High Court,'' he said.

He said he had no objection appearing before the agency if the ED could supply a valid reason.

The ED, Mr. Isaac said, is merely the political tool of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which is being used to isolate, arrest and detain political opponents and overturn state governments.

If indeed the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) and he had violated the FEMA, it should first be pointed out by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), and not the Enforcement Directorate, Mr. Isaac said.

''Wasn't it the RBI which issued NoC. Wasn't it the RBI which issued the registration nuber for masala bonds. And, during the three years afterwards, haven't we filed fund deployment reports to the RBI?'' he asked.

The ED has been summoning and questioning senior KIIFB officials during the one-and-a-half years. ''Even after all this, if they cannot state the nature of the offence and still wants me to appear before it, then it constitutes an encroachment upon my rights as a citizen,'' Mr. Isaac said.

‘Violation of SC ruling’

The ED actions are also a clear violation of the Supreme Court ruling against carrying out investigations of a ''fishing and roving'' nature, he added.

The ED actions against KIIFB, he said, was a politically motivated one intended to disrupt the State’s development plans. Since the Centre cannot touch the State’s legitimate income sources, attempts are being made to portray KIIFB borrowings to be a part of the state debt and curtail the state’s borrowing rights.

The CPI(M) has decided to fight such politically motivated attempts legally and politically and by mobilising the people of the State, he said.

LDF MLAs file plea against ED in HC

Earlier on Wednesday, Left front legislators K.K. Shailaja, E. Chandrasekharan, Ramachandran Kadannappally, M. Mukesh, and I.B. Satheeesh jointly filed a public interest litigation before the Kerala High Court seeking a directive to the ED not to interfere with the functioning of KIIFB under the guise of investigation into the funds raised by the board.

They said in the petition that the repeated summons and inquiry conducted by the ED into the Masala bond transactions of KIIFB was " resulting in tarnishing the goodwill of KIIFB and will result in the domestic financial institutions developing apprehension" about giving finance to the Board.The ED"s actions had an "adverse economic impact" on the State.

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Printable version | Aug 25, 2022 3:42:10 pm |