Palarivattom flyover case: Arrest looms over ex-min Ebrahim Kunju

 The Vigilance Department is closing in on former PWD minister V K Ebrahim Kunju in the Palarivattom flyover graft case after collecting vital evidence of his role.

Published: 18th September 2019 06:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th September 2019 06:07 AM   |  A+A-

Palarivattom flyover in Kochi | FILE PIC

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Vigilance Department is closing in on former PWD minister VK Ebrahim Kunju in the Palarivattom flyover graft case after collecting vital evidence of his role. A decision on his arrest is likely to be taken at a high-level meeting in the next couple of days. The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) has been facing criticism for being slow in acting against Ebrahim Kunju, but a source told Express that the senior officers have been verifying the documents before making the next move.

Ebrahim Kunju, a Muslim League MLA representing Kalamassery, had welcomed the probe into the irregularities in the flyover construction.VACB Superintendent of Police V G Vinod Kumar, who is heading the investigation, said: “Our probe is based on documents. We’ve seized several documents in the past couple of days and are verifying them. We’re also in the process of collecting more documents. Necessary action will be taken accordingly.”

As the PWD minister in the previous Oommen Chandy government, Ebrahim Kunju was the de-facto chairman of the Roads and Bridges Development Corporation of Kerala (RBDCK), which oversaw the flyover project and he used to attend all its board meetings.

“Ebrahim Kunju, as works minister, had signed and approved the file generated by the PWD for sanctioning mobilisation advance of Rs 8.25 crore to RDS Project Ltd, violating rules,” said a source. TO Sooraj, who was then PWD principal secretary (2012-2014), has already been arrested for his alleged involvement in the graft.

Vigilance collects statement on former minister’s role

“THE RBDCK board meetings had not discussed the mobilisation fund. But Ebrahim Kunju signed the PWD file allocating the release of funds to RDS,” said a VACB officer. A source said the statement revealing the role of Ebrahim Kunju in the flyover project too has been collected from the accused. “The file in which Sooraj recommended the release of mobilisation fund was seen and signed by the then PWD minister. The officials acted as per the file,” a source said.

According to the probe team, Sooraj, who was also the member secretary of the Kerala Road Fund Board (KRFB) between 2012 and 2014, recommended allocation of mobilisation advance for the project while there was no provision for such an advance. A file was generated for the purpose. Following the minister’s nod, a mobilisation advance of Rs 8.25 crore at an interest rate of seven per cent was issued to RDS, which constructed the flyover. The huge sum at a meagre interest rate was allotted while the state government itself was taking a loan from public sector undertakings for an interest rate of 11-14 per cent, pointed out an official.

INCHING CLOSER

● The Vigilance Department collects vital evidence
● Senior officers have been verifying the documents before making the next move
● A decision on his arrest is likely to be taken at a high-level meeting in the next couple of days

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