THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A key piece of evidence may help the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption team probing the Palarivattom flyover case nail former minister VK Ebrahim Kunju. Though there’s uncertainty over the arrest of Muslim League leader, who was PWD minister in the previous UDF government, the investigation team is in possession of a file that Kunju signed, approving the release of an advance amount Rs 8.25 crore to the firm picked to build the flyover.
The allegation is that the firm, which built the substandard flyover, was given an advance at a low-interest rate though there was no such provision. With the government deciding to demolish and rebuild the flyover, irregularities in its construction have come to the fore. The PWD file (GO No.57/14/PWD), accessed by Express through high-level sources at the state secretariat, was approved on July 15, 2014.
The file has 13 pages (9+4) and the abstract is mentioned as “PWD-SPEED Kerala Programme – Construction of flyover at Palarivattom – Request for advance payment – Sanctioned — Orders issued.” A senior PWD officer said it was this file that Kunju signed and approved for release of mobilisation fund to RDS Project Ltd in violation of rules. “The vigilance team probing the case has seized the file as one of the main evidences against Kunju. This is the same file that former PWD principal secretary T O Sooraj had mentioned as evidence against Kunju,” he said.
The team that collected the required evidence against Kunju had appraised the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau director’s office of the need to arrest Kunju in connection with the case. Sooraj, fourth accused in the case, has reiterated his stand that it was as per the direction and order of the then PWD minister Ebrahim Kunju that he sanctioned Rs 8.25 crore to the contractor.
“I approved the release of fund as per the minister’s order,” Sooraj said when he was produced before vigilance judge Kalam Pasha on Thursday. The judge extended the remand of all the accused for 14 days. The VACB has been successful so far in convincing both the vigilance court and the high court against granting bail to the four accused.