KOCHI: The Vigilance and Anti- Corruption Bureau (VACB) Ernakulam unit probing alleged corruption in the construction of Palarivattom flyover recorded the statement of former Works Minister VK Ebrahim Kunju. The IUML leader, who had been served notice by the VACB, appeared before investigators at the VACB office in Kathrikadavu around 11.30 am. The interrogation lasted a few hours. The sanction for Palarivattom flyover was given during Ebrahimkunju’s ministerial tenure.
Emerging from the VACB office, Ebrahimkunju told reporters he will cooperate fully with the ongoing investigation. “Vigilance sought some information related to the construction of Palarivattom flyover. I told them everything I know. The damage suffered by the existing structure makes it quite evident that there are lapses in the construction work. Those levelling graft charges against me are prompted by political motives. Neither the Chief Minister nor the incumbent Works Minister have uttered a word against me on the issue until now,” he said.
VACB Central Range SP J Himendranath said details of the administrative sanction for the flyover had to be collected from the former minister. The decision to arraign Ebrahimkunju will be taken on the basis of investigation carried out in the case.
“He was asked to appear before us to give the statement. He is not an accused in the case. Ebrahimkunju had approved the project during his tenure as PWD Minister. We will verify his statement before proceeding further in the case,” he said.The flyover has remained closed for traffic after cracks appeared at several points along the bridge.
A team from IIT-Madras, which first inspected the bridge, submitted a report to Works Minister G Sudhakaran highlighting the flaws in construction. The tarmac on the bridge got damaged within months of the flyover’s commissioning in October 2016. VACB after carrying out a preliminary enquiry(PE) registered an FIR against the contractor, officials of Roads and Bridges Corporation Kerala(RBDCK) and Kerala Industrial and Technical Consultancy Organisation (KITCO).