A day after taking Bineesh Kodiyeri, the son of Kerala CPI (M) general secretary Kodyeri Balakrishnan, into custody, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday said Kerala native Anoop Mohammad, who was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) for drug peddling in Bengaluru in August, was just a front man. It was Bineesh who funded Anoop’s flourishing drug racket in Bengaluru and the profits were sent back to his boss in Kerala.
In a statement, the central agency said Bineesh was the real financier of the drug cartel and pumped in huge amounts of unaccounted funds into the bank account of Anoop Mohammad.
Anoop was just a ‘benami’ of Bineesh who kept funds flowing into Bengaluru from various sources for peddling drugs. Bineesh had earlier said he had only funded Anoop’s hotel venture, but according to sources, the hotel too belonged to the CPI(M) leader’s son.
It was Anoop’s statement to the NCB that nailed Bineesh. He said the second son of CPI(M) leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had helped him a lot in his “business venture.” Later, his name also figured prominently in the call list of the alleged peddler.
The ED, in its statement, said Anoop had admitted during his interrogation he was just a ‘benami’ and Bineesh was the main funder of the psychedelic drug racket. “Fund trail investigation also found a huge amount of unaccounted funds was regularly credited in Anoop’s account by Kodiyeri. Later, proceeds from sale were deposited back in various accounts of Kodiyeri,” said the ED. This was going on since 2017.
Though Bineesh was booked under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the statement of Anoop, if proved right, will attract the tough provisions under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. The NCB will move a separate plea for custodial interrogation of Bineesh in a couple of days to probe the new revelation further.
Meanwhile, there was some drama at the ED office here when Bineesh’s elder brother, Binoy Kodyeri, came with a battery of lawyers. They demanded an audience with Bineesh. However, they were stopped at the reception area itself. After a 6-hour wait, a high-ranking official informed them their demands cannot be met and they would have to leave.
On the investigation front, the ED will now look into how the money received from Anoop was pumped into the film world in Kerala by Bineesh. The ED and the NCB are expected to come knocking at the doors of those in Kerala who have been into financial dealings with Bineesh. “Anoop used to operate from Kochi before shifting to Bengaluru. He used to frequent Kochi to attend many parties attended by film personalities. He operates a ring of peddlers in Kochi for supplying drugs to many,” a senior officer of the Kerala Special Branch was quoted in the media.