KOCHI: A Keralite businessman based in Mumbai on Wednesday alleged that Mani C Kappan, LDF candidate in the Pala assembly byelection and NCP leader, had siphoned off his money promising to arrange shares of Kannur International Airport Ltd. Dinesh Menon, chairman and managing director of Menen Aviation and Hospitality Ltd, held a press conference in Kochi claiming he had given Rs 3.25 crore to Kappan for the shares.
According to Dinesh, he was introduced to Kappan by his friend and senior government official Paul Joseph in 1996. “During the previous LDF government’s tenure, Mani approached me offering to arrange shares of Kannur International Airport. On his advice, through my son, we paid Rs 3.5 crore to Kappan in 2012 to get the shares,” he said.
However, when the shares of the airport company were denied to Dinesh, he asked Kappan to return the money he had paid. Kappan initially agreed to return the full amount and handed over Rs 25 lakh. However, when he refused to pay the rest of the amount, Dinesh approached CBI.
In 2013, Mani gave four cheques for Rs 3.25 crore and agreed to give a plot of land in Kumarakom, Kottayam, as security if the cheques were not cleared, Dinesh said. Dinesh then withdrew his complaint lodged with CBI. “Even though I deposited all four cheques, all were not cleared. I have filed four criminal cases at the Borivali Metropolitan Magistrate Court in Mumbai against Kappan. He has taken bail in all four cases,” Dinesh said.
When measures were initiated to attach the property given as security, it was revealed that Kappan had mortgaged the property and taken three loans to the tune of Rs 75 lakh.
When asked about any political motive behind levelling an allegation regarding a pending case when Kappan is facing election in Pala, Dinesh said he has no political affiliations. “Earlier, when Kappan contested the election, we did not raise the matter. Now, as a victim, I feel fraudsters should not be allowed to represent the public in the assembly,” he said.
Kappan, in his statement given to CBI on March 18, 2013, stated that Paul Joseph introduced Dinesh as a fund broker who wanted to have an introduction with Sharad Pawar.
“When Kannur airport shares were going to be issued, Dinesh wanted an introduction with the then Home Minister of Kerala, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and his son Bineesh. I introduced them to him. I came to understand that he had made some payments which he told me later. I understood that shares were allotted to his company but they were later cancelled,” Kappan’s statement read.
Kappan said he had assured Dinesh that he would speak to the persons concerned to get his money back. He underwent heart surgery soon after and had been bedridden for four months. Later, Dinesh started threatening him and sent vulgar SMSes, Kappan said. Despite multiple attempts, Kappan could not be reached for comments.