ED quizzes ex-CEO of Life Mission project in FCRA violation case

On Thursday, the agency had interrogated the chartered accountant, who was associated with Sivasankar, in connection with the case.

Published: 18th February 2023 10:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th February 2023 10:12 AM   |  A+A-

Enforcement Directorate (File Photo | PTI)

Image used for representational purpose only. (Photo | PTI)


KOCHI: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) interrogated the former CEO of Life Mission project, U V Jose, in connection with its probe into alleged violation of Foreign Contribution (Regulations) Act in the Kerala government's flagship scheme for providing houses to the poor.

The agency questioned Jose for nearly nine hours at the office here on Friday in connection with the Kerala government's Life Mission project at Wadakkanchery in Thrissur district of Kerala.

Meanwhile, CPI(M) state secretary M V Govindan said his party was in no way linked to M Sivasankar, the former principal secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Govindan accused some people of trying to link Sivasankar with the party.

"Let them arrest him (Sivasankar). He was arrested earlier also. We are not in any way linked to  Sivasankar. Some people are trying to link him with us. And it's purely politics," Govindan told the reporters.

On Thursday, the agency had interrogated the chartered accountant, who was associated with Sivasankar, in connection with the case.

The CA had allegedly helped Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the gold smuggling through diplomatic channel case, to open a bank locker to keep the commission received from the project. A special court here had on Wednesday sent Sivasankar to five-day ED custody.

The CBI had in 2020 filed an FIR in a Kochi court under Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code and Section 35 of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), 2010 on a complaint by the then Wadakancherry Congress MLA Anil Akkara listing Santosh Eappen, Managing Director of Unitac Builder, Kochi as the first accused and Sane Ventures as the second accused.

The two companies had undertaken the construction based on the agreement entered with them by Red Crescent, an international humanitarian movement, which had agreed to provide Rs 20 crore towards the Life Mission project.

The Congress has been alleging that there was corruption involved in the selection of the contractor by Red Crescent.

The alleged FCRA violation and corruption in the project had snowballed into a major political issue at that time with opposition parties charging that Suresh had admitted before an NIA court that she had received Rs 1 crore as commission from the project.

She had reportedly claimed that the money was meant for Sivasankar.

However, the Life Mission CEO had submitted before the court that Unitac and Sane Ventures had undertaken the construction based on the agreement entered into with them by Red Crescent and had directly accepted foreign contributions from Red Crescent, which is a foreign agency.

The petition also contended the companies which signed an agreement with the Red Crescent do not come under the categories of persons prohibited from receiving any foreign contribution as per Section 3 of FCRA.


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