Kerala BJP president K Surendran
Kerala BJP president K Surendran

Thiruvananthapuram

In an embarrassment to the central leadership of BJP, police has summoned state party president K Surendran for questioning in the Kodakara havala heist case.

The case relates to theft of Rs 3.5 crore, allegedly sent by BJP sources for party’s electioneering, by a gang which had prior information about the havala operation by faking a road accident.

There is no case about the havala transaction, investigation of which is within powers of Enforcement Directorate. Police allege that it was Surendran’s son who was the first person to be contacted by the man to whom the money was to be delivered. BJP has taken the stand that it is part of the state government’s plan to discredit the party and its leadership. As such, it is learnt that Surendran is unlikely to present himself for questioning. The SIT had delivered the notice at Surendran’s Kozhikode residence, asking Surendran to appear before them next Tuesday.

The state BJP president is accused in another case by the state Vigilance department, in which he is alleged to have paid Rs 25 lakh to tribal activist C K Janu as bribe to contest the assembly election on behalf of NDA.

Janu, though a part of NDA, had been keeping aloof from the alliance and was known to be building bridges with the ruling front. The bribe was apparently to get her to change her mind.

The payment came to light when Praseetha Azhikode, the treasurer of C K Janu’s party, broke up with her and called a press conference to disclose that Surendran had paid the bribe.

The BJP central leadership, already upset with the dismal performance of the state party in the assembly elections, is unhappy that Surendran’s indiscrete actions have caused much embarrassment to the party.

Surendran also faces strong opposition from a section of the state leadership for what they consider as abrasive behaviour by the party president. The rival camp has used the incidents to step up their campaign against the official leadership.

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