Thiruvananthapuram: Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala on Tuesday said he will take legal and political steps against any move by the Pinarayi Vijayan government to bring an Ordinance to keep out the CBI from the ongoing probe into the Life Mission project.
The CBI on Friday not only filed a detailed report in the special court here on the Kerala government’s now controversial Life Mission housing project, but also registered a case that was filed at the Ernakulam Chief Judicial magistrate court.
Chennithala said this while speaking to the media here and claimed that he has got information that the law department is taking steps to come out with an Ordinance, which will keep the CBI out of the ongoing Life Mission housing project probe.
“You all can also find out and if this happens, I will take legal steps and also take it up politically. First we will go and meet the Governor and brief him about what’s happening and will request him not to sign the Ordinance. If things do not end with it, then it will be legal steps,” said Chennithala.
“The CBI has registered the case as foreign exchange rules have been violated and they have already begun the probe also. All along Vijayan was saying they are ready for any probe and it was he who himself wrote to the Centre seeking probe by national agencies. Now they know they are trapped and hence they are coming out with this Ordinance. This is in violation of all Constitutional norms and it will be opposed by us,” added Chennithala.
The Life Mission project, a pet one for Vijayan ever since he assumed office in 2016, was floated to build houses for the homeless and landless, using funds from sponsorships. The role of the state government was limited to providing the land.
The project, however, ran into trouble when Anil Akkara, the Congress legislator from Wadakkanchery in Thrissur, first raised questions about the wrongdoings in a building project in his constituency, with funds from UAE-based charity organisation Red Crescent.
Though Vijayan had been maintaining that the state government, apart from handing over the land had no role in the project, but things began changing since the Kerala gold smuggling case surfaced.
This particular project was routed through the UAE Consulate, where main accused Swapna Suresh and P.S. Sarith, whose arrest led to the uncovering of the scam, both worked. It turned murkier, when news surfaced that the son of state Industries Minister E.P. Jayarajan was also close to Swapna.
It was the media advisor of Vijayan, John Brittas who said that Rs 4.50 crore commission was paid and it was endorsed by two State Ministers also.
The CBI has already questioned Santhosh Eapen, whose company was given the contract to build the houses. It has now asked senior IAS official and Life Mission CEO, U.V.Jose to appear before it on October 5 with all the documents.
Vijayan is the chairman of Life Mission and his trusted aide, State Local Self Government Minister A.C. Moideen is the vice-chairman .
After a meeting of the ruling Left Democratic Front, its convenor A. Vijayaraghavan said the opposition is up in arms against the rule of this popular Left government and now the BJP has started to use national agencies to try to create a smokescreen.
“We will oppose this and will also solicit the help of the people as this is a concerted move by vested interests to spoil the good work the Left government has done,” said Vijayaraghavan.