Business Standard

Life Mission case: After 9-hour grilling session, ED makes headway

After a nine-hour grilling of Venugopal Iyer, a CA, a close aide of Sivasankar, the ED has reportedly made headway with the CA stating he had just followed the former top bureaucrat's instructions.

Enforcement Directorate

IANS Thiruvananthapuram
After a marathon nine-hour grilling of Venugopal Iyer, a Chartered Accountant and a close aide of Sivasankar, the ED has reportedly made a headway with the CA stating that he had just followed the former top bureaucrat's instructions.
Three days after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested M.Sivasankar -- the former Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in connection with the Life Mission bribery case, things are getting tough not just for the arrested former official, but others too.
Former CEO of the Life Mission U.V. Jose, who was questioned in the past, appeared before the probe agency this morning. He too will be questioned along with Sivasankar.
Sivasankar retired from service on January 31.
The arrest is related to the ongoing probe in Vijayan's pet project 'Life Mission' - intended to provide homes to the poor who were displaced in the devastating floods of 2018.
An amount of Rs 4 crore was allegedly paid as commission to get a contract, as builder Santhosh Eapen told the CBI after he was arrested.
Earlier, the ED had recovered Rs one crore in cash from a locker in the name of prime accused in the gold smuggling case and also in the Life Mission case- Swapna Suresh.
The locker from where the ED recovered the huge amount of money was in the name of Iyer and Swapna.
By now, the central agency has been able to retrieve chat messages of Sivasankar, Iyer and Swapna and with Iyer explaining things what happened, they have now made a solid case with facts and evidence and that is going to spell trouble for more.
Another clinching evidence is that it was Sivasankar who had directed Swapna on how to draft letters especially to get the money from a UAE-based Red Crescent, a UAE based charity organisation for building the flats under the Life Mission project for the poor and weaker sections here.
Sivasankar asked Swapna to call Raveendran if she had any doubts.
Incidentally, Raveendran is the assistant private secretary to Vijayan and one of the closest aides of his who is the last word in the chief minister's office.
Swapna soon after the arrest of Sivasankar had told the media that Raveendran is the storehouse of all secrets surrounding Vijayan and if he is questioned he would spill the beans about Vijayan, his wife, daughter and son.
With Sivasankar's ED custody ending on Monday, the probe agency is working overtime and is likely to serve notices to a few key people also holding high positions.
Reacting to the arrest of Sivasankar, for the first time CPI(M) state secretary M.V.Govindan said the party will not be affected by it as he is no longer associated with them.
"Sivasankar has been arrested in the past also a few times, so what's it for the
CPI(M). We have got nothing to do with Sivasankar," said Govindan.
The Congress and the BJP have now called for the resignation of Vijayan saying the CM should quit as it's better than being thrown out.
--IANS
sg/shb/

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Feb 17 2023 | 12:02 PM IST

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