The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has extended its gold smuggling probe to cover 4 other major projects of the Pinarayi Vijayan government, which accused former principal secretary M Sivasankar has been associated with.
These include the K-Phone project, Smart City and E-Mobility, which the CM described as the Kerala government’s dream projects. The dispensation has been facing criticism from the opposition parties due to alleged corrupt deals in these projects.
The ED has written to the state chief secretary seeking project details, including MoUs, key partners, land acquisitions and the compensation paid for acquiring land.
It suspects large-scale corruption in the deals and besides Sivasankar, the role of other IAS officers is said to be under the scanner. It has landed leads on how people close to Sivasankar entered into major real estate deals for the benefit of benamis.
The ED possesses preliminary evidence of Sivasankar amassing wealth over the years, and investments made in windmill and real estate projects. Just as it has turned out Anoop, held in the Bengaluru drug racket, is the benami for Bineesh Kodiyeri, Sivsankar may be the benami for someone else.
BJP leaders have claimed he is the benami for Vijayan’s family and dubbed him the richest CM in India, like Andhra’s YS Rajasekhara Reddy was considered once. The party has sought a probe into the assets of the CM, both within and outside the country.
Some leaders have even named Vijayan’s daughter, who has a business in Bengaluru, as one of the beneficiaries of questionable deals entered into by the state government. The latest ED move has caused serious concern among the ruling CPI(M), whose leaders have mounted a campaign against the central agencies as politically motivated.