The Kerala High Court on Friday issued notices to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, his daughter and many other politicians, including Congress and Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leaders, on a petition alleging that they received regular illegal gratifications from a controversial mining firm.
A bench of Justice K Babu also issued notice to Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala, Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leaders P K Kunhalikutty and V K Ebrahim Kunju, as well as Veena’s firm Exalogic Solutions, among others.
A report of the Income Tax Interim Settlement Board had mentioned that Kochi-based mining firm Cochin Minerals and Rutiles Limited (CMRL) paid Rs 1.72 crore to the chief minister’s daughter Veena Vijayan’s Bengaluru-based Information Technology firm between 2017 and 2020 without receiving any service.
It was alleged that the amount was paid on a monthly basis “due to her relationship with a prominent person”.
Vijayan, on the other hand, had maintained that the payments to his daughter were part of legal business contracts. He had also denied the allegations that he took funds from the firm.
The report also mentioned that many other politicians also received funds from the mining firm. The documents recovered by the Income Tax (I-T) department from the firm mentioned the names of politicians in abbreviations.
Anti-corruption activist Gireesh Babu had sought a vigilance probe into the accusations in the I-T department’s report. However, a Vigilance special court had earlier rejected the plea, maintaining that only general allegations were made without sufficient evidence.
Although Babu filed a review petition in the High Court, he passed away when the court was about to hear his petition. Subsequently, the high court appointed an amicus curiae to examine the matter.
Based on that, the HC on Friday decided to send notices to Vijayan, his daughter and other politicians mentioned in the I-T department’s report.
The Congress and IUML leaders had earlier stated that political parties used to collect money for party funds. Nonetheless, they raised suspicion over the payments given to the chief minister’s daughter.