Kerala

Officials of Kerala’s Life Mission project received kickbacks, CBI tells SC

The Central Bureau of Investigation has alleged in the Supreme Court that officials of Kerala government’s Life Mission project received kickbacks to the tune of around ₹ 4.5 crore in collusion with their counterparts in the UAE Consulate General office.

The money was illegally diverted by two companies, Unitac and Sane Ventures, from foreign contributions received to build homes for flood victims on over two acres of land in Wadakancherry, the CBI has contended in the Supreme Court.

The draft of the CBI contentions in the apex court was shared with The Hindu by Kerala government counsel.

The investigative agency said the initial Memorandum of Understanding on the Wadakancherry project was between Red Crescent and Life Mission. However, subsequent agreements were executed between the UAE Consulate and Unitac and Sane Ventures.

“The intention was only to divert the foreign contribution and receive kickbacks from the said foreign contribution. The agreements were executed between third parties who are not parties to the MoU in active connivance with officials under Life Mission and officials of the Consulate General of UAE,” the CBI has said.

The agency said though the amount was received by Sane Ventures and Unitac, the “receipt was for and on behalf of Life Mission and the officials of Life Mission colluded with officials of the Consulate General to receive kickbacks from the foreign contribution.”

“The two companies have admitted the involvement of kickbacks and gratification by way of money and I-phones to the officials of UAE Consul General and Life Mission, which support the case alleged in the complaint. It is also clear that the foreign contribution routed through third person was for evading mandatory audit and other formalities, if it could have been routed through the government machinery,” it said.

The agency said the probe so far had only revealed “the tip of the iceberg” regarding the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act.

‘Key accused’

The CBI said Unitac owner Santhosh Eapen was the “key accused and the prime conduit in this offence committed in conspiracy with the Life Mission officials and others.”

“The roles of Life Mission officials as well as private persons, are to be investigated in detail apart from other aspects ... Investigation so far reveals exchange of emails connecting the above project at Wadakancherry between Life Mission and the conduits. It is also clear that the foreign contribution routed through third person was for evading mandatory audit and other formalities, if it could have been routed through government machinery,” the CBI has alleged.

The agency dismissed arguments made by Kerala about its lack of jurisdiction to investigate the case. It said it was authorised to investigate offence under the FCRA involving receipt of foreign contribution of an amount of ₹1 crore or above.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Apr 14, 2021 8:39:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/life-mission-officials-got-45-cr-in-kickbacks-cbi-tells-sc/article33963919.ece

Next Story